The De­bate

When pub­lic de­bate heats up Mizzima reviews the land­scape of opin­ion and prints the most poignant quotes in favour and against. Do you think the provisiona­l cen­sus fig­ure of a pop­u­la­tion of 51.4 mil­lion is ac­cu­rate?

Mizzima Business Weekly - - FEATURE -


The link­age of cit­i­zen­ship to eth­nic­ity is out­dated and di­vi­sive. It caused se­ri­ous prob­lems in Rakhine State which should have been fore­seen. How­ever, almost any cen­sus any­where in the world is likely to be some­what fraught. The out­come of the cen­sus in Myan­mar was much bet­ter and in the event more ac­cu­rate than many had thought likely. There were clearly risks, but the decision to go ahead de­spite prophe­cies of doom was ab­so­lutely cor­rect.

Derek Tonkin, ad­viser to Ba­gan Cap­i­tal, for­mer Bri­tish am­bas­sador to Thai­land, Laos and Viet­nam

To me and at the UNFPA, the fig­ures are ac­cu­rate but de­tails will be­come clearer when we get the main data in May and we can do a full anal­y­sis.

Based on the prepa­ra­tion that has been done we are con­fi­dent that the fig­ures are ac­cu­rate, ex­cept in Rakhine State where there were is­sues with the count.

Fredrick Ok­wayo, chief tech­ni­cal ad­vi­sor, UNFPA

They col­lected the data in part­ner­ship with var­i­ous or­gan­i­sa­tions, the UN gave tech­ni­cal

support and they tri­alled the process many times. Although we don’t know the method of col­lec­tion, I think it is cor­rect.

Dr Aye Maung MP, deputy leader, Rakhine Na­tional Party

(Amyotha Hlut­taw, Rakhine State)

“In the cen­sus process the gov­ern­ment has been as­sisted tech­ni­cally by the UNFPA. The UN su­per­vised the cen­sus. There­fore we trust the out­come.”

U Nyan Win, cen­tral ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­ber,

Na­tional League for Democ­racy

We do not wish to crit­i­cise the gov­ern­ment over the is­sue of the cen­sus. The gov­ern­ment and UNFPA col­lected the data in a sys­tem­atic man­ner and we ac­cept that. We be­lieve it is an ac­cu­rate fig­ure.

U Zaw Win, chair­man, Ka­man Na­tional Pro­gres­sive Party

It is a re­li­able fig­ure; they used in­ter­na­tional stan­dards and in­cluded UN ex­perts. I have ex­pe­ri­ence of col­lect­ing the cen­sus in 1973 and 1983. Even though the data col­lec­tors did not have this ex­pe­ri­ence there was mass par­tic­i­pa­tion and the fig­ure is ac­cu­rate.

U Han Shwe, cen­tral ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­ber,

Na­tional Unity Party


It is likely an un­der­es­ti­mate given lack of ac­cess to con­flict ar­eas, the num­ber of refugees, mi­grant work­ers, etc.

That said - per­haps not too much of an un­der­es­ti­mate. I have long thought the 60m es­ti­mate ab­surd - a metaphor in some ways for the over-hyp­ing of the changes in Myan­mar more broadly per­haps...

As­so­ciate Pro­fes­sor Sean Tur­nell, a spe­cial­ist on the Myan­mar econ­omy

at Mac­quarie Univer­sity, Syd­ney

As far as we know this is not a com­pre­hen­sive list, they may have missed one or two mil­lion, but the fig­ure they show is close to def­i­nite.

U Win Oo, Pyithu Hlut­taw, Ye­byu Town­ship, Taninthary­i Re­gion, Union Sol­i­dar­ity and De­vel­op­ment Party

“When a sig­nif­i­cant mi­nor­ity such as the Ro­hingya were ex­cluded the fig­ure of 51.4 mil­lion can­not be ac­cu­rate, and it’s not clear how many mi­grant work­ers from Burma were ex­cluded. There are so many doubts over the in­tegrity of the process the pre­lim­i­nary fig­ures will al­ways have a fog of un­cer­tainty over it.”

David Mathieson, Hu­man Rights Watch

Why do they lie about the cen­sus fig­ures as if they are the truth? The 2015 elec­tions have not yet ar­rived but we know all about their prepa­ra­tions, they are plan­ning to steal votes.

Ven­er­a­ble U Par­maukkha, Or­gan­i­sa­tion for the Pro­tec­tion of Na­tion and

Re­li­gion, on his Face­book page

It is not an ex­act fig­ure; there are some places that were missed from the cen­sus be­cause of the se­cu­rity con­di­tions and other rea­sons. I think the Depart­ment of Pop­u­la­tion and Im­mi­gra­tion will col­lect again and up­date the fig­ure if they have the right set of cir­cum­stances, then we will get an ac­cu­rate fig­ure.

Dr TuJa, chair­man, Kachin State Democ­racy Party

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