CPF Board writes to SDP to seek contacts of retirees; SDP responds: We hope this is not just a PR exercise because of impending GE

25 October 2019
Singapore Democrats

The CPF Board wrote to the SDP asking for the contact details of the two individuals whom Dr Chee Soon Juan cited in his FB post on 13 October 2019 regarding their inability to get back their CPF savings.

Below is Dr Chee’s reply. Following this is the initial correspondence between the CPF Board and SDP.


25 October 2019

Christopher Ee
Senior Deputy Director
CPF Board

Dear Mr Ee,

I refer to your email dated 24 October 2019 which followed the unsigned email of 22 October 2019.

You want to know the contact details of the two persons I cited in my Facebook post on 13 October 2019 who had told me about their inability to withdraw their CPF savings despite the circumstances in which they find themselves.

You seem to have missed the point. They came to the SDP precisely because they had approached CPF to return them their savings but were turned away.

It, therefore, strains credulity that you now want to contact them to “look into the matter”.

Nevertheless, I hope that this is a genuine effort on your part to assist these Singaporeans with their difficulties rather than conduct a public-relations exercise to assuage the people’s anger over the retention of their CPF savings because of the looming general elections.

I also hope that it is not lost on you that it is immoral to withhold retirees’ savings which they worked a lifetime to accumulate and on which they now depend for their survival.

It is wholly unnecessary for me to say this but it serves as a reminder: a worker’s CPF savings comes from his/her hard-earned wages and, as such, belongsto him/her and him/her alone. Going back on your original undertaking to return our savings at 55 is an egregious and unacceptable breach of trust.

I cite former deputy prime minister (the late) Dr Toh Chin Chye who said in Parliament:

Mr Speaker, I think fundamental principles are being breached. The fundamental principle is this. The CPF is really a fixed deposit or a loan to Government, which can be redeemed at a fixed date when the contributor is 55 years old. If I were to put this sum of money in a commercial bank and, on the due date I go to the bank to withdraw the money, the manager says, ‘I am sorry, Dr Toh, you will have to come next year’, there will be a run on the bank! It is as simple as this, that the CPF has lost its credibility, the management of it. (29 June 1984 in the debate on the Problems Of The Aged, Paper Misc. 3 of 1984, https://sprs.parl.gov.sg/search/topic?reportid=037_19840629_S0005_T0022)

To be sure, the persons whom I highlighted in my FB post are only two among the hundreds of thousands of Singaporeans who want their savings returned. They are neither asking for sympathy nor seeking handouts; they just want back what rightfully belongs to them.

If you are genuinely interested in looking into this matter, then may I suggest that you meet with these two individuals as well as all others who are seeking to have their CPF savings returned.

My colleagues and I in the SDP stand ready to contact these persons and facilitate such a meeting should you agree to one. As this matter is of intense public interest, please be informed that our correspondence will be made public. 

Thank you.

Sincerely,
Chee Soon Juan
Secretary-General
Singapore Democratic Party

 

Initial correspondence

22 October 2019

Dear Dr Chee

It has been brought to our attention that you have made a Facebook post on 13 October, in which you alleged that (a) one CPF member had $247k in his CPF but was unable to withdraw his CPF for retirement, and (b) another CPF member was ill and unable to work but was unsuccessful in withdrawing his CPF.

Every year, we address close to two million requests and queries either in person or through the phone, e-mail and written correspondence. The fastest way for members to reach us for assistance is to visit our five service centres conveniently located across the island, phone our call centre or write in to us.

If you wish to help the two CPF members you cited, please let us know their contact details so that we may look into the matter. We look forward to receiving the details soon.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely
CPF Board

 

24 October 2019

To whom it may concern
"CPF Board"

We refer to your email dated 22 October 2019 which did not include a signee. Please include the identity and designation of the author of the email failing which we will consider it as fraudulent and will proceed to act accordingly.

John Tan
Vice-Chairman
Singapore Democratic Party

 

24 October 2019

Dear Mr Tan

Thank you for getting back to us. We are writing from the Communications Group. As conveyed earlier, please let us know the contact details of the two CPF members cited in the Facebook post so that we may look into the matter.

Yours sincerely
Christopher Ee
Senior Deputy Director
CPF Board