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Dear fellow Singaporeans,
Let me first thank Ms Han Hui Hui and the organisers for staging this very important event to focus the nation’s attention on our CPF and how the Government is withholding our hard-earned retirement savings.$CUT$
I am unable join you at Hong Lim Park because I am presently at Sydney University to do a fellowship for a few weeks. But even as I am not there in person, I am, assuredly, there with you in spirit.
More than 20 years ago, the SDP had opposed the implementation of the Minimum Sum Scheme. Ever since, we have been doggedly trying to bring this most egregious breach of promise committed by the PAP to the attention of Singaporeans.
The CPF scheme was first introduced by the British colonial government and it started out with a 5 percent contribution from employees matched equally by employers. The goal was to help workers save for retirement. The savings would be returned to the saver upon retirement.
But when the PAP took over, the CPF became a lucrative source of funds for the Government and its original intent has been betrayed. The CPF is now used for housing payments, medical expenses, investment schemes, and so on.
Without an opposition to keep it in check, the Government introduced the Minimum Sum scheme in the 1980s to further retain our pension savings. The SDP firmly opposed such a move.
But this was before the days of the Internet and social media, and the PAP, with the help of the media that it controls, easily railroaded opposing views.
Back then, the amount retained was $80,000. The Government has, over the years, doubled the sum, withholding $155,000 of each member’s account today.
Through the years, the SDP continued to bring to the attention of Singaporeans the detriment of the Minimum Sum Scheme. In 2008, when four of your fellow Singaporeans conducted a silent protest outside the CPF Building demanding the abolition of the Minimum Sum and calling for the Government to be transparent when it comes to our CPF money, they were met by the riot police.
But circumstances have changed. Now, on this day of 7 June 2014, we are exercising our rights to assemble here at Hong Lim Park. But our message hasn’t changed: We want the Minimum Sum Scheme to be abolished and our CPF savings returned to us. We also want the Government to be transparent about how it handles and invests our CPF savings.
In our alternative economic programme that we published before the last general elections in 2011 called It’s About You, the SDP spelt out measures on how our funds and reserves can be managed with a high level of transparency and where Singaporeans have a say in how they want their funds to be invested.
We will further refine our ideas on this topic in our forthcoming economic policy paper. We will present our ideas to the people of Singapore at the next GE and canvass their support.
In the meantime, please keep up your good work to inform the people and to warn them of the dangers of the Minimum Sum policy. Have a courageous rally and let us work even harder to build a democratic society for our nation, a society where the people are in charge and where the government is accountable to the people.
On behalf of my colleagues in the SDP, I wish you all the very best.
I remain yours in solidarity,
Chee Soon Juan