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Census put off due to elections

Senior Minister Chhay Thorn Chhay Thorn speaks at the Interior Ministry yesterday.
Senior Minister Chhay Thorn Chhay Thorn speaks at the Interior Ministry yesterday. Mech Dara

Census put off due to elections

A nationwide census has been postponed from March next year to 2019 due to next year’s national elections, according to the Ministry of Planning.

Senior Minister Chhay Thorn told reporters after a meeting of the national census committee at the Ministry of Interior yesterday the census was delayed until March 2019 because the government would be preoccupied with preparing the elections and because of a lack of human resources.

“We need to count every person in Cambodia . . . At the end, we will receive clear information about people’s problems,” Thorn said. He said the census would last 13 days, would cost about $8 million and would require the participation of some 47,000 officials. Thorn estimated the Cambodian population in 2019 will have grown to about 16 million people. The last census, conducted in 2008, showed a population of 13.4 million.

Hang Lina, general director of the Ministry of Planning’s National Institute of Statistics, said the census would be used as a basis for government policies.

“We analyse the situation of people, economics, and analyse them for the policies . . . We need more indicators to observe, implement and evaluate more,” he said. A new census question, for example, will serve to determine the birth mortality rate.

San Chey, director of the NGO Affiliated Network for Social Accountability, said a census was crucial for development. He said he understood the decision to delay, as it required sufficient time to be carried out. If not conducted properly, he said, the census might not be accurate, as had happened in the past.

“The result of the number of population from the census is very important. The previous census seems to be far away from the reality,” he said.

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