The Budget debate currently going on in Parliament has shown MPs demonstrating support for the CPF Minimum Sum Scheme. This scheme is aimed at retaining the CPF savings of retirees.$CUT$
The SDP reiterates our stand: We want to see all of a member’s CPF savings returned to him or her at the age of 55. No ‘ifs’, ‘ands’ or ‘buts’. Here’s why:
The only reason the PAP has advanced for the scheme has turned out to be a flimsy excuse; its rationale is that retirees will squander their savings. But it provides no data to back up its claim. How many retirees actually blow away their nest-egg? Repeated calls for the Government to supply such information has met with stony silence.
The PAP says that it is afraid that retirees, having squandered their savings, will turn to the state for handouts. This is the reddest of red herrings. For more than half-a-century, the PAP hasn’t bothered with how the poor elderly survived. Many end up have to work to feed themselves, collect cardboard for sale, or rummage through dumpsters.
But when they want to retain our savings, all of a sudden it is concerned about poor retirees depending on the government.
More important, do retirees have enough to survive on in the first place? Is the Minimum Sum Scheme a ploy to distract Singaporeans from the fact that most of their retirement savings have been siphoned off for housing and healthcare?
But the biggest issue with the scheme is that the Government continues to stonewall calls for it to be transparent with GIC and Temasek funds, which are widely believed to include our CPF reserves.
No one should support the retention of our savings when the Government refuses to tell the people how much CPF funds it manages, how much it loses or profits, and where these funds are invested.
The books must be opened so that the people can see how much there is in the CPF kitty without which we will never know if the Minimum Sum and the raising of the amount withheld are merely schemes to withhold the money in order to prop up depleted coffers.
For those who want to have their CPF returned to them in instalments, the SDP has proposed an opt-in scheme where retirees can voluntarily ask for their accounts to be withheld. (See here)
Singaporeans are not an unreasonable people. No one is demanding that the state support them in their old age and no one is asking for taxes to be raised so that they can live off welfare. All they want is for their CPF savings – savings which they worked their whole lives for – to be rightfully returned to them as the PAP originally promised.
The SDP will fight for the Government to honour that promise.