September 25, 2020

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Malaysia’s 2020 census to be conducted online

While the Covid-19 pandemic continues wreaking havoc across the globe, disrupting various public and private sector activities, the first phase of implementation for the Malaysian Population and Housing Census 2020 (Census 2020) exercise will be conducted online via a technology-friendly e-Census method.

It began on 7 July and will go until 30 September, in line with the country’s ongoing pandemic situation.

Malaysian Population and Housing Census 2020 Commissioner said that 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.

The 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.

The government will focus on the rural areas in October (for the face-to-face second phase). Moreover, the e-Census exercise will be focused on high connectivity urban and rural areas that have internet facility.

The Commissioner made his statements in an interview at his office at the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) in conjunction with Malaysia Census Day was launched by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on 7 July 2020 at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC).

The Commissioner, 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.

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

On the challenges in implementing e-Census, the Commissioner 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.

The government has requested those using the e-Census fill out the survey as soon as possible to avoid 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 6 July until July 24 and for those wanting to apply to use the e-Census are required to pre-register starting today until 23 September.

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