Malaysia's first-ever chief statistician Ramesh Chander dies

PETALING JAYA: Datuk Ramesh Chander, who was Malaysia's first-ever chief statistician, has passed away.

The chief statistician's office said that Ramesh passed away at 2.50am on Tuesday (Nov 14), at the age of 88.

"The late Ramesh was the first Malaysian to hold the title of chief statistician after independence, serving from Jan 1, 1966, to Dec 31, 1977," Chief Statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said in a statement on Wednesday (Nov 15).

Throughout his 11 years at the helm of the Statistics Department, the late Ramesh successfully developed a statistical system that is still in use today," he said.

Among his contributions was to pioneer the integrated household survey for data collection to analyse poverty and socio-economic indicators. The late Ramesh also held the position of the first commissioner for the Population and Housing Census after independence in 1970," read the statement.

He also played a key role in developing the framework for monitoring the targets and goals of the New Economic Policy.

During his lifetime, Ramesh also chaired the Conference of Asian Statisticians, was elected to the UN Statistical Commission where he served as a Vice-Chair from 1972 to 1976 and represented Malaysia at the Commonwealth Conference of Statisticians.

He was also the founding member of the Statistical Institute for Asia and the Pacific (SIAP); served as member of the Governing Council of the Institute and the Technical Committee for the World Fertility Survey.

"Until his final days, the late Ramesh remained active in advocating for statistics within the statistical community, participating in forums, seminars, and dialogue sessions such as the Webinar: Counting Everyone For A Better Tomorrow (July 7, 2020); Population Statistics Seminar (Feb 14, 2022) and Corruption In Malaysia: Who Will Bell The Cat (28 April 2021)," said Mohd Uzir.

"The department extends condolences to the family of the late Ramesh and hopes they find strength and patience in this loss.

"The department will always remember and appreciate the late Ramesh's contributions, particularly in strengthening the statistical system to assist the country in formulating socio-economic policies and planning," he said.

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