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Official statistical leadership at the crossroads again: An information age perspective

Abstract

This paper expounds the need for collating knowledge based economy (KBE) indicators in a holistic manner under the official statistical system. The paper argues, the official statistical user needs and demands have changed drastically in recent years. Rapid information communications technological (ICT) upheavals have made profound impacts on all spheres of life, as such the way one work, learn, interact, transact and communicate have embraced changes unprecedented in human history. The changes challenge not only public policy formulation activities but also raise questions on validity of certain statistical concepts and definitions as well as data aptness. The current official statistical system is based on agriculture and industrial settings and lack adequacy and comprehensiveness in depicting the information age developments. Beginning with the advent of online connectivity and real time interactive Internet features in early nineties, the KBE is incrementally shaped by broadband communication; borderless networking irrespective of geography and time; intensification of digitization processes and contents; miniaturization of computing devices enhancing business mobility and agility; new transactional and analytical models like outsourcing, cloud computing, cognizance computing, big data analytics and pay as you use e-services increasingly typify contemporary businesses. As such, changes in policy institutions, organizational structures, governance processes, people's lifestyles and millennial workforce new demands and behaviours have emerged, thus exerting unduly pressures not only on public policy strategies but also on national statistical system. Reckoning the imperatives, the paper is making a clarion call to scrutinize, review and realign the current official statistical system, including incepting totally new statistical surveys on gauging KBE. In support of the claim, the paper highlights the Malaysian KBE statistical experiences, wherever deemed relevant.

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