Census important for development planning, says Abang Johari

KUCHING: The on-going national census has important bearing to national development, and Sarawak in particular, says Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

Singling out the relatively low level of average household income in Sarawak, he said the high income per capita figures for Sarawak did not reflect the true picture of the distribution of wealth in the state.

Abang Johari said Sarawak’s economic development policy needed to be reformulated and realigned to address the low household income at RM5,218 for 2019 in order for the economic cake to be more equitable to the people of Sarawak.

“Sarawak’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (estimated at RM136.05 billion in 2019) was quite high because of the revenue from the oil and gas industry, but which, unfortunately, did not translate into an increase in the real income of the people,” he said after launching the 2020 National Population and Housing Census (MyCensus 2020) for Sarawak at his office in Wisma Bapa Malaysia here.

Earlier, the Chief Minister was briefed on the implementation of the census by Sarawak Statistics Department deputy director, Dayang Rozana Abang Hassan.

“The GDP per capita (estimated at RM53,317 for 2019) was not a true picture of the income of the people,” Abang Johari pointed out, adding that the recent announcement of raising the poverty line from RM980 to RM2,208 by the Federal government would certainly put more people in the category.

He said the outcome of the census would help Sarawak to formulate various economic approaches to increase the income of the people and urged the public to cooperate with the Statistics Department to ensure the exercise could be carried out smoothly.

The Malaysia Population and Housing Census which is held once in ten years, has been carried out five times since 1970, with the last one in July 2010.

This year’s Census Day was fixed on July 7, which saw the introduction of the Malaysia Integrated Population Census System (MyIPCS), a centralised and comprehensive census system with improved e-Census features covering the process of complex data collection, analysis and dissemination.