• Minister in charge of the Economic Planning Unit (EPU), Abdul Rahman Dahlan, should ask for a statistics lesson from the Department of Statistics rather than asking the Khazanah Research Institute (KRI) to explain their latest report to the Perak state government

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 5th of September, 2016

    Minister in charge of the Economic Planning Unit (EPU), Abdul Rahman Dahlan, should ask for a statistics lesson from the Department of Statistics rather than asking the Khazanah Research Institute (KRI) to explain their latest report to the Perak state government

    It was reported yesterday that Minister in charge of the Economic Planning Unit (EPU), Abdul Rahman Dahlan, had said that it was “unreasonable” and “not logical” for the Khazanah Research Institute (KRI) State of the Households II Report to place Perak as the 2nd poorest state in Malaysia.[1] It was further reported that the Minister had said that reports and statistics which are accurate needed to be supplied to KRI so that its report can be corrected.[2] Abdul Rahman also said that he had directed the EPU director general to call for a meeting between KRI and the Perak government to explain the statistics in the report.

    I am truly appalled at the ignorance of the Minister in charge of the EPU as demonstrated by his statements on the KRI report.[3] The data showing that Perak had the 2nd highest percentage of households earning less than RM6000 a month was obtained from the Household Income and Basic Amenities Survey 2014 which was carried out by the Department of Statistics (See Chart and source below).

    The same Household Income and Basic Amenities Survey also shows Perak having the 2nd highest number of households earning less than RM2000 a month at 21.3% (after Kelantan at 31.4%) (See Figure below)


    Source: Household Income and Basic Amenities Survey 2014, Department of Statistics

    Abdul Rahman Dahlan may be right in saying that Perak may not be the 2nd poorest state in Malaysia since there are other ways of measuring income per household or per person such as mean and average household incomes (Perak comes in at 3rd from the bottom in 2014) and median wages (7th from the bottom in 2015) and average wages (5th from the bottom in 2015).

    But to question the KRI report which is based on statistics sourced from the Department of Statistics (which is under the Minister in charge of the EPU’s purview, the last time I checked) shows a level of ignorance and incompetence that is astounding, even by Abdul Rahman Dahlan’s standard.

    Instead of asking the DG of the EPU to call for a meeting between KRI and the Perak state government, the Minister should instead ask the Department of Statistics to brief him on the Household Income and Basic Amenities Survey 2014 and how to understand the statistics in this survey. In fact, I am confident that one of the Perdana Fellows interning under the Minister can brief him on the basics of statistics and how to understand such reports.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

    Department of Statistics – Household and Income Survey 2014

    Khazanah Research Institute – The State of Households II

    [1] http://english.astroawani.com/business-news/khazanah-report-perak-unreasonable-rahman-dahlan-115860 and http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v8/bm/ge/newsgeneral.php?id=1279527

    [2] http://www.utusan.com.my/berita/politik/rahman-sangkal-laporan-perak-negeri-miskin-1.378193#sthash.Bx2Z3e9D.dpuf

    [3] http://www.krinstitute.org/assets/upload/KRI_State_of_Households_II_280816.pdf