Sin Chew Daily
The statistics department launched the decennial nationwide population and housing census taking campaign in July.
The first phase e-Census and telephone interviews is currently running until September 30. However, according to the statistics department, the response so far has been unsatisfactory, as only 1.5 million people have completed the online survey, far from the department's 30% online participation target.
Many have shunned the online survey probably because they feel it is troublesome. Actually, the questionnaire is not that difficult at all once registration is done online. Many don't see this exercise with seriousness probably because they don't understand its purpose.
It is utterly important for the government to rectify the problems of unequal resource distribution and development in the country by collecting the data through the census taking exercise held once every ten years. If Malaysians d not participate positively in this exercise, there will be no way for the government to collect the precise data. As a result, resource distribution will be flawed, making it impossible to achieve equal development for the whole country.
The data collected will constitute an important reference for the government in drawing up appropriate socioeconomic policies. Lack of cooperation from the people may result in resources which should have been allocated to specific development sectors may have to be overlooked due to insufficient data.
The data collected will become the determinant factor in many things. Lack of accurate information may result in a waste of the country's resources. The information will give the government a better insight into specific areas or economic sectors that require more of government attention so that resources will be adequately channeled to the places they are needed most.
Through the census taking exercise, the government will have an idea which underprivileged groups need more assistance and how bad unemployment is. By tackling the problems accurately, socioeconomic risks will be minimized and welfare schemes can be drawn up to meet the needs of the society while helping young people settle the unemployment problem.
The survey will encompass areas like housing, employment, education and social relations, among others. These are the parameters that will help the government draft the country's socioeconomic development plans over the next ten years, including building of schools, hospitals, roads and public transport.
The census should serve as a channel to reflect Malaysians' voices through the provision of accurate information to help the government build a more precise database so that the government can better understand the needs of the people and develop more comprehensive infrastructure for the well-being of the local population.
The size of the census samples needs to be large enough to accurately reflect the problems and needs of the people. As such, extensive and positive participation from Malaysians is of utmost importance.
Our tidak apa attitude is the main reason the response so far has been unsatisfactory. People need to be educated to be more responsive to the census exercise.
We must not be misled by some irresponsible people, thinking that the information provided in the census survey will be leaked out to unauthorized parties, or that the government is planning to infringe on the civilians' privacy.
As a matter of fact, under the Census Act 1960, all personal information collected by the authorities in the census exercise will be held in top confidentiality, and Malaysians need not worry about unauthorized leak of their personal particulars.
If you still have not taken part in the online survey, do it as soon as possible now. If you happen to miss it, you still have the opportunity to extend your cooperation during the second phase of door-to-door interviews beginning next month.
Do bear in mind that cooperation in the census taking exercise is also a form of patriotism.