PM Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day Rally signalled the PAP Government’s intent of withholding the people’s CPF money, continuing to dishonour its original promise to return Singaporean’s their hard-earned retirement savings.
Mr Lee’s announcement of future adjustments to allow retirees to withdraw more money fails to address the all-important question: How are older Singaporeans going to survive in their retirement?
As it is, most Singaporeans do not have enough to meet the Minimum Sum of $155,000 (which will be increased to $161,000 in 2015). Giving back retirees small monthly instalments of a few hundred dollars under the Minimum Sum Scheme will not allow them to survive in a city ranked the most expensive in the world.
The PAP must stop playing these money games and, instead, honour its pledge to return to Singaporeans their CPF savings.
To solve the problem of giving our retirees the means to survive, the SDP has proposed the following measures:
1. Remove land cost from HDB prices
It is estimated that Singaporeans pay more than 100% in excess for their HDB flats because of the mark up in price by the Government. The PAP says that it needs to factor in the cost of land sold to HDB. What it doesn’t say is that the land costs the Government nothing.
The SDP’s idea of Non-Open Market (NOM) flats will allow Singaporeans to convert their existing flats to NOM ones and, in return, the Government will give back the money deducted for land cost (which could range between $100,000 to $300,000 per flat depending on the flat-type) to their CPF accounts.
Read also SDP proposes NOM flats in housing policy
2. Scrap Medisave
The SDP healthcare plan will do away with the 3M system. Money retained under the Medisave scheme (currently at $43,500) will be returned to our CPF accounts.
In its place will be the National Health Investment Fund (NHIF) into which members will pay from their CPF a fraction of what Medisave withholds. The Government will contribute the remaining amount into the NHIF to make up the country’s total healthcare expenditure.
In this manner, there will be universal healthcare in Singapore and Singaporeans will be relieved of the burden of paying unaffordable healthcare expenses.
Read also The SDP healthcare plan made simple
3. Return CPF to the people
Singaporeans must be able to withdraw all their savings to fund their retirement years. In other words, abolish the Minimum Sum Scheme. Singaporeans are much better custodians and managers of their own money than the PAP Government.
The current system of the Government withholding the people’s savings while indulging in dubious, non-transparent and non-accountable investments by the GIC and Temasek Holdings is trouble waiting to happen.
In contrast, the SDP’s three measures cited above will give Singaporeans sufficient funds to live our retirement in security and dignity. Singaporeans work hard our entire lives and should not be squeezed even more during our retirement years.