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Speakers at CPF protest call for flexibility, better returns, greater transparency for CPF scheme

Published on Jun 7, 2014 10:17 PM
Blogger Han Hui Hui (not pictured) organised a protest called "Return Our CPF" at Hong Lim Park on June 7, which saw nine speakers taking to the stage. -- ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Despite a drizzle and the afternoon sun, a large crowd gathered at Hong Lim Park for a protest against the Central Provident Fund (CPF) system on Saturday afternoon.

Taking place amid the continuing public debate about the retirement savings plan, the nine speakers at the "Return Our CPF" protest mainly criticized three areas: what they perceived as the inflexibility and changing rules of the compulsory savings scheme, the low rate of returns on CPF savings and the lack of transparency in how CPF monies are used.

Former presidential candidate Tan Kin Lian said Singaporeans should have the freedom to opt out of the minimum sum scheme and CPF Life annuity, though he cautioned that if CPF interest rates improve, it would still be prudent for Singaporeans to keep some money in their CPF accounts. The monthly CPF Life payouts, however, should be raised, he said, a point that several other speakers also made.

Singapore Democratic Party chief Chee Soon Juan, in a message read out by 17-year-old representative Ariffin Sha, said the CPF has strayed from its intent when it was legislated in 1955 as a pension scheme where employees and employers each paid 5 per cent and the sum could be withdrawn upon retirement. Reiterating this argument, former SDP member Vincent Wijeysingha said the Government is now using CPF as a "mop-up scheme" for too many purposes such as housing, healthcare and education.

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