CPF Minimum Sum scheme must stay

I refer to the letter, “A middle path does not equal not taking a stand” (Dec 14, online), and in particular, the well-intended suggestion that we should not have the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Minimum Sum scheme.

The issue is a hot political topic, and those who call for it to be rescinded would get the public’s attention.

I know of a 72-year-old, who is single and now destitute. He has to depend on social welfare, as his monthly CPF payouts are inadequate.

He had sold his public flat, encouraged by a property agent, and lived in Indonesia to stretch his money.

But he spent it all in less than 10 years and is now suffering from the shock that the cash was insufficient to last him a lifetime.

Clearly, he was ill-advised by the agent, who did the sale for him with the selfish intention to earn the commission.

I am grateful the CPF Board has the Minimum Sum scheme in place. Without his CPF payouts, the state would have to give him more assistance, from taxpayers’ money, for life.

There might be many similar cases, and I hope the Housing and Development Board will have a system to monitor and advise the single elderly against cashing out their flats.

I also hope the Government will gather statistics on the number of destitute Singaporeans, by various categories of financial plight and background, who are receiving state assistance. This should be presented annually in Parliament.

It would be socially and politically expedient and responsible for the Government to highlight publicly what could be in store for our nation and future generations should we remove the CPF Minimum Sum scheme.

Tan Kok Tim

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