PHILLIP ANG: CPF members and citizens had better sit up and get immediate answers from the PAP on the CPF issue. Except for PAP’s inner circle, ALL MPs have no idea where our CPF is invested. If Singapore indeed has a Parliament, why are there no answers?
Since late last year, I have read and posted about 40 blog articles on the CPF issue. Have there been huge losses with our CPF investments? Why is the government pumping tens of billions of OUR savings into CPF/GIC? If it had really wanted to help Singaporeans, the PAP could have used returns from land sales proceeds. There are no answers without transparency so the more one reads, the more fearful one becomes.
Newbie ministers like Tan Chuan Jin failed to provide and assurance but instead gave typical PAP replies which conveniently skirt our concerns. With zero transparency in our CPF system, it resembles a Ponzi scheme. And the PAP had consciously designed it to be opaque by according GIC ‘private limited’ status. Instead of addressing the issue of transparency, Tan ‘anyhow’ concluded that “our CPF is a good system which looks after our fellow Singaporean’s needs”. It is a self-insulting statement because the system is clearly broken – “70% of Singaporeans do not even have half of the CPF Minimum Sum of $77,500”. Who is Tan trying to fool in the internet age?
According to CPF statistics, the last 5-year increase in CPF contributions is equivalent to the preceding 20 years. This is not due to superb economic performance but:
– due to the legislated increase of the OA MS by $38,000 and Medisave MS by $11,500,
– in order to prevent mass withdrawals by baby boomers.
No government would legislate $49,500 (OA + MA) of citizens’ savings into an opaque entity (GIC). Over a 10-year period, the amount is a mind-boggling $88,500 (OA + MA). Is Minister Tan unable to discern long-term planning from hit-or-miss planning?
The PAP government has set up yet another advisory panel (committee) to ‘address’ the CPF issue. When PM Lee stated “CPF and home ownership are good schemes”, he was clearly not listening to our real concerns or opining from his ivory tower.
During his NDR speech, PM Lee said CPF members may be given the option to withdraw part of OUR CPF in a lump sum at 65. Besides being opaque, Ponzi schemes start to unravel whenever there is a massive withdrawal by investors (CPF baby boomers). By not allowing the withdrawal at 55, this further reinforces the view that CPF IS more of a Ponzi scheme.
PM Lee says the lump sum amount to be withdrawn could be up to 20% of the ‘total’. ‘Total’ of what? Including our Medisave? Why not withdrawal at 55 instead of 65 as 18% of Singaporeans die before 65, another 10% will be down under (6 feet, not in Australia) before 70 ? Is CPF solvent to begin with? If so, why is the PAP insistent on 65 and not 55?
The PAP has also roped in the ST to disseminate CPF propaganda. A wealthy ST reporter, Loh Keng Fatt, wrote an article and gave the impression that a large number of CPF members are leaving their CPF balances with the Board. Fact – 97.2% of CPF members do not leave excess money with CPF. This is either due to our distrust or having insufficient savings.
PM Lee is not bothered that thousands in each cohort are dead before we can even use our hard earned savings after 35 years. Thousands more in each cohort are also unable to enjoy the fruits of our labour due to deteriorating health even before reaching 65. But our highly paid politicians and civil servants are not affected by their CPF retirement savings. Not forgetting wealthy citizens like ST reporter, Ah Fatt.
As with other government-appointed committee, it will take a year before tweaks to our failed CPF system are confirmed. It appears PAP is merely buying time for the next GE.
Without pertinent answers and a long term solution to our failed national pension system, Parliament has been a total disappointment. It is merely playing along with PAP’s narrative at the expense of CPF members.
If CPF is solvent, why can’t the PAP be transparent for once with CPF members? Or is our CPF kitty empty?
This commentary was written by Phillip Ang.
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