I WISH to draw to the public’s attention to a possible glitch in the e-census. An answer I clicked for the category “religion” was different in the PDF copy I printed. Thinking I may have made a mistake, I reviewed my answers and confirmed it was not my error. When I sought an explanation, the supervisor of the census takers for my area confirmed having received another complaint on the same problem two weeks ago. The supervisor added that she had reported the issue to the Statistics Department.
If that were true, why wasn’t it corrected for a whole two weeks? How many more people would have unwittingly assumed the computerised process would record their answers faithfully, as I almost did were it not for a note on the final page prompting a PDF check before submitting the form?
While my problem was eventually rectified – I received a polite call from the department asking me to try the e-census again, and this time it recorded what I inserted – I wonder whether it has been truly corrected in a fresh form.
So, although this comes at a cost to my privacy, I would like to call on others who are planning to use the e-census to try an experiment without submitting their form: Click “no religion” under the “religion” category and see whether you get the same answer in the PDF. Originally, mine recorded it as “other religion”.
I have not received any satisfactory explanation from the Statistics Department on how such a mistake could have happened, and why nothing was done although another complaint had been lodged earlier.
This casts serious doubts on the integrity of the census undertaking for which citizens are asked to be honest in giving their details. Yet whether the authorities are capable of accepting the truth appears questionable.
Chuah Siew Eng,
Taman Desa, Kuala Lumpur
19 Aug 2010