KUALA LUMPUR: The government is planning to revise the Statistics Act 1965 in the Dewan Rakyat in July 2024 to increase the Department of Statistics Malaysia’s (DoSM) role in strengthening the country’s statistical landscape.

Chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said DoSM continues to make strides in producing important statistics as the landscape of globalisation, the world economy, social well-being and the environment change.

“The Strengthening of the National Statistical System (SNSS) is an initiative led by DoSM and has been mandated by the government in an effort to strengthen the capabilities of the National Statistical System (NSS).

“This initiative represents a shift towards encouraging innovation and improving the standard of decision-making for the existing NSS,” he said in his keynote speech at the launch of the 10th Malaysian Statistics Conference, here today.

Revealing the history of Malaysian statistics, Mohd Uzir said the compilation of gross domestic product (GDP) began in 1961 when DoSM, at that time known as the Bureau of Statistics, released data for the first time with a focus on the agricultural sector, petroleum production, and several other key sectors.

He said that in the 1970s, Malaysia began to use the input-output method to calculate GDP which allowed for a more detailed analysis of the economic structure.

“In the 1980s, the country began to use a real-time series system for data collection to ensure GDP was released more quickly and accurately. In 1993, to help improve the accuracy of economic data and understanding of the country’s economic structure, Malaysia began compiling GDP based on the System of National Accounts (SNA) 1968.

“Until now, Malaysia has been using the concepts and methods outlined in the latest SNA, which is SNA 2008,” said Mohd Uzir.

He added that in the early 1990s, Malaysia had taken the first step to compile GDP data on a quarterly basis with the help of an expert consultant from New Zealand, Rodney Wellington.

Although GDP is a well-known and significant economic indicator, it cannot tell the social situation of the people in a country and the readiness of a country to face threats, Mohd Uzir explained.

Therefore, there was a clear demand from policymakers, governments, academics and the public to move statistical measurement frameworks beyond GDP, as defined during the High-level Forum on Official Statistics organised by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs Statistics, United Nations earlier this year.

Hence, he stressed that data across the borders of GDP requires a combination of economic, environmental and social indicators that go beyond the measurement of market activity and take into account matters involving people’s well-being and environmental sustainability.

It is important for today’s statistical community to look beyond GDP in order to create more comprehensive statistics, Mohd Uzir said. - Bernama

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