Decrease in Chinese population ‘purely arithmetic’


By Mazwin Nik Anis and Lee Yen Mun, The Star

PETALING JAYA: The Chinese population in the country has declined by 2% last year from the figure recorded in the 2000 population census.

However, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop said the report did not necessarily mean there were fewer births.

The percentage of Chinese might look like it was getting smaller when a census was carried out, but he stressed that this was “purely arithmetic”.

Even if the growth rate remained the same over the years, the fact that the latest census were compiled against the backdrop of a larger population base might change the proportion, he added.

“Even if the Chinese are having fewer children, the implication on the figure is only minor,” he said.

According to the 2010 Population and Housing Census report, the Chinese constitute 24.6% of Malaysia’s 28.3 million population while 67.4% were bumiputra, Indians (7.3%) and others (0.7%).

In the 2000 population census, the Chinese made up 26% of the country’s 23.27 million population.

When the census was carried out in 1991, the Chinese community made up 28.1% of the country’s 18.38 million population.

The nationwide census, which was conducted by the Statistics Department between July 6 and Aug 22 last year, also showed there were 14,562,638 males and 13,771,497 females.

It was reported in July that the number of Malays in Penang is increasing and they now outnumber the Chinese by 0.7%.

A total of 670,100 or 41.6% of the estimated 1.6 million Penang population are Malays while 658,700 or 40.9% are Chinese.

Chinese analysts attributed the de­­cline to the community’s preference for small families, marrying late and migration, as well as women professionals opting to remain single.

Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall president Tan Yew Sing said the declining Chinese population was a natural trend due to urban culture.

He said more Chinese were moving to the urban areas, where they preferred to raise smaller families.

“A significant portion of the Chinese community is also known to migrate overseas,” said Tan.