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?
The linkage of citizenship to ethnicity is outdated and divisive.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