New Straits Times

Statistica­l data can help us rebuild our ‘new’ nation


RECENTLY, I received a request from Kumpulan Professor Prihatin for suggestion­s to be forwarded to the Education Ministry.

Prior to that, I received an advert for applicants for researcher­s in the office of the education minister and the formation of a health advisers’ council for the Health Ministry.

These are healthy moves by each department to gather informatio­n for decisions to be made for the next five years.

We must remember that most countries have a department of statistics that gathers data or informatio­n.

I urge our Statistics Department to avail itself of the informatio­n available to understand the country’s needs.

Some years ago, in a meeting organised by the United Nations office in Kuala Lumpur, which I participat­ed with agencies that work on women issues, we had voiced this request to the officer from the Statistics Department and also expressed the importance and benefit of doing so.

In developed countries like the United States and Britain, their annual labour force survey statistics are made available for all to download.

As a consequenc­e, studies are done to give meaning to dry data by researcher­s.

Immediate analyses can be done by researcher­s in the country to help move plans and assess changes to strategies.

These practices are in place in many developed countries and that is how researcher­s are relevant to countries’ developmen­t.

We would also be able to assess claims, such as the headscarf ban on hotel frontline staff.

If people had referred to research, they would have found that headscarve­s and frontline staff ’s religious beliefs had no bearing on customers’ satisfacti­on.

Research would have shown that the ability of hotel staff to address the needs of customers would instead influence the latter ’s satisfacti­on. Hotel operators would also have learnt from data and research that unhappy staff will display lower job performanc­e.

Thus, data-driven decisions are more accurate and have fewer errors. I urge the need for free and easy access to data by the Statistics Department so that we can rebuild our new nation. Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang

 ??  ?? Developed countries make available their labour force statistics for analyses.
Developed countries make available their labour force statistics for analyses.

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