Census 2020: Tech-friendly e-census focuses on areas with high internet access in Malaysia

The first phase of the Census 2020 exercise will be conducted online via the technology-friendly e-Census method, starting tomorrow until September 30, in line with the country’s ongoing pandemic situation. — Picture by Choo Choy May
The first phase of the Census 2020 exercise will be conducted online via the technology-friendly e-Census method, starting tomorrow until September 30, in line with the country’s ongoing pandemic situation. — Picture by Choo Choy May

PUTRAJAYA, July 6 — Amidst the Covid-19 threat, the first phase of implementation for the Malaysian Population and Housing Census 2020 (Census 2020) exercise will be conducted online via the technology-friendly e-Census method, starting tomorrow (July 7) until September 30, in line with the country’s ongoing pandemic situation.

Malaysian Population and Housing Census 2020 Commissioner Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said about three million households had been selected to complete the task via e-Census, which includes residents living in high connectivity areas and have access to the internet, which is an essential requirement in order to key in information into the e-Census.

“Census is conducted every ten years, certainly new elements which are different (this year) compared to 2010 (census) are the literacy level and Malaysians’ willingness to accept the e-Census method.

“We will focus on the rural areas in October (for the face-to-face second phase),” he said adding that the e-Census exercise will be focused on high connectivity urban and rural areas that have internet facility.

He said this in an interview at his office at the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) here recently in conjunction with Malaysia Census Day to be launched by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin tomorrow at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC).

Mohd Uzir, who is also DOSM Chief Statistician said following the government’s approval in 2017 to implement Census 2020 and having fulfilled the Census Act 1960 (revised 1969), listings and necessary measures have been taken by DOSM personnel in the states to update the directory for houses nationwide, including new residences.

As a result, a total of nine million residences had been listed, including three million households who will be filling out the census information via the e-Census method.

“They (DOSM’s personnel) will update or statistically speaking, ‘make the listing’. We also look at new housing areas which will be completed in 2020, whether they are occupied or not.

“This way, we have managed to list about nine million houses in Malaysia. We have completed (the listing), therefore when we implement the e-Census, it is already in the system,” he said.

On the challenges in implementing e-Census, Mohd Uzir has advised the selected residents to utilise the three-month period given to them to fill out the online form truthfully and with transparency.

He said they will be able to save their responses, without having to answer all 106 questionnaires at one go and only send the census form when they are satisfied and have completed all the questions.

“We request for (those using) the e-Census to not (fill out the survey) at the eleventh hour (because) there will be heavy traffic, systems interruptions and so on.  There might be some weaknesses when implementing the e-Census method, for example in high volume areas, the internet connection could be quite slow,” he said.

Each selected household will receive a postcard that has an identification number which is to be keyed in when logging in the e-Census.

The postcards will be delivered beginning today (July 6) until July 24 and for those wanting to apply to use the e-Census are required to pre-register starting today until September 23.

“Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, we have made the adjustments by prolonging the e-Census period until September 30, following which we will conduct the census via the conventional way, face-to-face, hoping that during that period, we have overcome the pandemic and keep it under control,” he said.

Census 2020 involving the 32.7 million Malaysian population will be implemented in two phases, with the first from July 7 to September 30 to be conducted online (e-Census), and the second from October 7 to October 24 via face-to-face interview.

It is an offence under the Census Act 1960 (amendment 2006) for any individual to refuse to answer the census questions truthfully, providing false answers, delivering incorrect schedule or statement and neglecting to comply with any provision or any regulation of the act.

Under the act, offenders are liable to a fine not exceeding RM100 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one month or to both. — Bernama

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