Chief Statistician Uzir Mahidin proves statistically, no mountain high enough, with Mt Kinabalu conquest

Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin is a fitness fanatic who believes a healthy body equals a healthy mind.

An avid runner, the Chief Statistician at the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM), logs 1,000km every month. He also celebrated Malaysia Day in 2022, by running 56.6km in seven hours, two minutes and seven seconds.

But his biggest achievement happened on June 30, when he, and 19 DOSM staff conquered Mount Kinabalu to celebrate National Statistics Day (Oct 20), DOSM’s 75th Diamond Jubilee celebration (Nov 2), and the second phase of the Agricultural Census (July 7-Oct 10). The first phase was from Feb 13-March 31.

Mount Kinabalu is 106km east of Kota Kinabalu in the Ranau district of Sabah, East Malaysia.

The two-day climb was also in conjunction with the National Statistics Day Roadshow, the opening event to mark National Statistics Day.

The roadshow kicked off with a stop in Sungai Petani, Kedah, on June 8, followed by Shah Alam, Selangor, on June 11, Kuching, Sarawak, on June 14, Kota Bharu, Kelantan, on June 23, and Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, on June 27.

In Sabah, Uzir also arranged a 30-minute ‘Relaxation Session’ with the Malim Gunung Association at the Panabalan Base Camp.

The climb to the top of the mountain, 4,095m above sea level, started at 10.04am on June 29. Excluding breaks, the group took 16 hours, 13 minutes and 58 seconds to complete the 25.18km ascent.

“The idea of climbing Mount Kinabalu was to motivate the staff – primarily from the Sabah department – that anything is possible,” said Uzir, who has a PhD in Economics from the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom.

“It is also to promote healthier outdoor activities and perseverance in the face of adversity during the climb, particularly for those aged 24 to 50.

“I wanted to show them that those my age – 58 – can still do strenuous activities, so the younger ones don’t have an excuse not to stay fit.”

Uzir said he believes that if his body is healthy, it will help keep his mind sharp.

“In my line of work, I deal with numbers and data. I can’t afford to make a mistake,” said Uzir, who has been pushing his staff to exercise and eat better.

“Diet plays a crucial role. It’s not healthy to eat nasi goreng (fried rice) or nasi lemak every day.

“By staying healthy, I’m training my mind to be stronger and more alert. I want to be an example for my staff.”

Uzir said DOSM’s Sports Club funded the expedition, and he hopes to have more such activities with other statistics departments around Malaysia.

“I want to foster the ‘can-do’ spirit for my staff. Who knows, maybe we can go up Mount Everest one day!”