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Thursday January 24th 2019

Online interview: CPF saga and its your money

Transitioning: Thanks for responding to our questionaire on the latest CPF saga Paul, so do you think the current CPF system is adequate for retirement especially when we see so many of our pioneer generation struggling with survival issue?

Paul: No, as the interest paid out is too little and medisave is not allowed to be used to take up additional medical insurance to see to hefty medical expenses.

Transitioning: There is a lot of misgivings about the minimum sum scheme – do you think it should go up yearly or stop after rising to a specific level?

Paul: Of course it should stop rising after a certain level. In fact, there should not be minimum sum when the person reaches retirement age. That amount placed in a foreign currency deposit yields better than leaving in CPF.

Transitioning: Many people also complain about the annuity payout method of the minimum sum scheme – do you think that we should be given the option to withdraw it entirely or in instalment or both?

Paul: People should be given the option to withdraw the full sum coz simply, that is their money.

Transitioning: Are you happy with the current interest rate of 2.5% for CPF ordinary account? How do you think this can be enhanced without rocking the boat too much?

Paul: 2.5% is inadequate definitely. There should be a higher rate of CPF returns for Singaporeans pegged to performance of performance of sovereign wealth fund and economy. It is also not right for foreigners not be subjected to the minimum and get to withdraw from the CPF in full when they leave the country when Singaporeans have to be subjected to it.

Foreigners should also not be given the same preferential rates in CPF as Singaporeans as CPF is meant to safeguard the retirement of Singaporeans, not foreigners.

Transitioning: Do you believe our government’s rebuttal that our sovereign fund Temasek Holdings did not dip into the CPF money for investment purposes?

Paul: I do not believe it. They need to prove it with concrete evidence that they did not invest CPF funds in Temasek by making public the accounts. If they do not show us the accounts, it is only fair for people to assume that they invested our CPF monies in Temasek. With such a huge amount in the our sovereign wealth fund, it is hard to believe that none came from CPF.

Transitioning: Do you feel that our current CPF system is being utilised for too many vehicles e.g. housing mortgage, healthcare, retirement and children education that it’s original intention of enforced savings for retirement is being eroded?

Paul: Yes, but I am all right with using CPF for housing which is a necessity for retirement but they should remove the absurd accrued interest element that penalises Singaporeans by making them pay interest into their own accounts.

As for healthcare, Singaporeans should be allowed to use their CPF monies to purchase healthcare insurance from private insurers in a way that suits the person’s retirement needs as everyone has different retirement needs.

Transitioning: Do you agree with the treatment of blogger Roy Ngeurg as he was sued by the Prime Minister for defamation and later sacked by his employer TTSH when he wrote about the CPF issue.

Paul: What can the government do to maintain a healthy relationship with both the bloggers and the citizenry at large without resorting to using the stick? I think the government should look at the real intent as to why Roy created the stir.

If a leader of substance is accused of something wrongfully, he should prove what the accuser said is wrong with facts and figures and not resort to law suits and litigation. If a hundred Roys said the same thing about the PM, is he going to haul all these individuals to court? Many of us know that many things in the CPF and government lack transparency so obviously only the PM and government knows the truth, which is why past opposition members hauled to court would almost certainly lose a defamation suit.

The only way for the government to maintain a healthy relationship with the online community is to come clean on all their policies as the internet is a world of information and it is not difficult for people to know truth from lie.

Transitioning: Do you think that the government reacted strongly to the huge gathering at the June 7th Return Our CPF protest? Should our population protested more in future so that the government will listen?

Paul: Yes, I believe the government would feel the impact on the ground. I have always held the believe that citizens are not political by choice, but by their birth. The moment we are born, we are political animals that have rights to speak up against all forms of injustice or issues affecting our lives.

Transitioning: The government has recently announced the launch of Medishield Life but with an increase in premiums – do you find the product useful or is it just a propaganda gimmick with nothing substantial in real value? Please explain your reasons.

Paul: This is monopolistic in nature. The government has anti-competitive laws in place for private sector but they themselves are anti-competitive. I believe there are other insurance products out there that are doing better than Medishield Life, so why should Singaporeans be forced to follow that?

Transitioning: Should the CPF system be reviewed thoroughly now that the issue is so out in the open?  What do you think is the best avenue for feedback then? At Hong Lim Park, Reach Feedback or government forum?

Paul: Yes, it should be reviewed from time to time if there are any gaps. The government should take what people say seriously not not brush our concerns aside like it doesn’t mean anything.

Thank you and end of interview

Editor’s note: The respondent is a 40-year-old professional who is concerned about the CPF issue.

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2 Responses to “Online interview: CPF saga and its your money”

  1. sal says:

    If Malaysian gov can give good return and member can withdraw at earlier age than Spore….what can we say about CPF scheme.

  2. xyz says:

    I find it laughable that Sinkies who are now KPKB about cpf are those who have voted for pappies all their life, or who have made fun of opposition. Now then kow for fuck?!? Somemore pappies already made known the current problems of cpf way back in 2003. I bet at that time all you Sinkies either praising pappies or too busy smoking drugs to care.

    BTW, in the above graphic, the explanation for the 2nd review is wrong. The true explanation requires a basic understanding of finance which unfortunately 99% of Sinkies don’t have. The review date should also be 2003, and not 2004.

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