SINGAPORE – Member of Parliament Zaqy Mohamad has called on the Government to find new ways to improve returns on Central Provident Fund(CPF) savings so that it is not too difficult for Singaporeans to reach the Minimum Sum they need to set aside for their retirement.
The MP for Chua Chu Kang GRC proposed a Government-backed investment plan that has higher interest rates and accounts for inflation.
This is one way the Government can improve returns on CPF savings, and thereby reduce citizens’ unhappiness with the “changing goal-posts” of the Minimum Sum, he said, referring to the increases in the Minimum Sum requirement to meet rising living costs and longer life spans.
Mr Zaqy kicked off the Parliament debate on the President’s address on Monday, flagging retirement adequacy, jobs and business competitiveness, and policy execution as key areas the Government will have to work hard on.
People need to feel more reassured that they can retire comfortably in Singapore, said Mr Zaqy, and as such, the upcoming review of CPF policies is timely.
“Residents I speak to are often concerned about whether they can retire comfortably in Singapore. Most are also concerned whether their CPF savings can meet the Minimum Sum, pay for their home, afford their children’s education or support the medical fees if they have a family member that needs constant medical care.
“Our cost of living is high by many international standards, and one major illness can set back your savings by a lot – especially if one is still supporting parents or children with a medical condition,” he said.
Mr Zaqy also urged the Government to uphold a fair and just work environment so that Singapore’s local workers do not feel disadvantaged working amongst a global workforce. But Singapore must still stay globally competitive, he added.
Furthermore, the Government needs to put in a lot more effort to explain the benefits of policies on the ground and reach hearts and minds, he said. This is especially as it needs to counter destructive politics, especially the politics of envy and self interest and the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories, he added.
“Otherwise, the Government will always find itself on the back foot and these divisive messages become like a festered wound that refuses to heal.”