Thursday, October 01, 2015

You got it all wrong, GSIAC

Two days ago, I came across headlines that said Malaysia's GDP per capita in 2014 has exceeded world average for the first time.

This little piece of happy news was splashed across all print and digital news agencies, both local and international.

I wasn't too excited about this piece of news because the key focus now should be the compensation of employees as a percentage of GDP.

That matters more to the people. That's income into our pockets and we should speed up the progress.

The contribution of Compensation of Employees to Malaysia’s economy accounted for 34.3 percent only in 2014. Out of a RM1.1 trillion economy, people like me and you received only 34.3 per cent of it.

Anyway, I began to have doubts on the news when I found out that it was the Global Science and Innovation Advisory Council who came up with a statement on the economy.

GSIAC and MiGHT claimed that:
  1. Malaysia's GDP per capita in 2014 exceeded the average of all countries worldwide for the first time

  2. Malaysia's GDP per capita was at US$10,830 in 2014 while the average of all nations worldwide stood at US$10,804.

  3. In 2010 national per capita GDP was US$8,752, some 8% below the then-world average of US$9,513

And apparently the numbers came from World Bank.

Since World Bank data is one of the most easily obtained, I dug up the spreadsheet and cross checked the numbers in less than 5 minutes.

I was shocked when I saw the numbers. The following table is an extract from World Bank's GDP per capita spreadsheet.

GDP per capita (USD current prices)

So here are the facts:
  1. Malaysia's GDP per capita exceeded world average in 2012, not 2014 as claimed by GSIAC and MiGHT.

  2. Malaysia's GDP per capita in 2014 was US$10,933 and not US$10,830 while World average of GDP per capita in 2014 was US$10,725 and not US$10,804 as claimed by GSIAC and MiGHT.

  3. Malaysia's GDP per capita In 2010 was US$8,803 and not US$8,752 while the then-world average was USD9,458 and not US$9,513 as claimed by GSIAC and MiGHT.

Now, where did you get your numbers from, GSIAC and MiGHT? Who did the research?

Surely your numbers can't be from the World Bank, I am looking at the latest official spreadsheet that was downloaded from 

If you don't already know this, Wrong decisions can be made with imperfect or misrepresented information.

Numbers can affect investment decisions and in your case, strategic planning or at the micro level the scientific conclusion.

As a responsible council and Government agency, we must always be careful when we go public with numbers. You lose credibility easily unless you can defend them.

This celebrations and news on 'first time ever in 2014' should end now.

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