Retirement issues the focus of a third of Rally feedback to government unit Reach

A group of elderly people gather as they chat among themselves in Chinatown on Feb 17, 2014. Of the 530 pieces of feedback that government unit Reach received on last Sunday's National Day Rally, most were on the topic of assurance in retirement
A group of elderly people gather as they chat among themselves in Chinatown on Feb 17, 2014. Of the 530 pieces of feedback that government unit Reach received on last Sunday's National Day Rally, most were on the topic of assurance in retirement. -- ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Of the 530 pieces of feedback that government unit Reach received on last Sunday's National Day Rally, most were on the topic of assurance in retirement.

About 37 per cent of those who wrote into Reach discussed the new retirement measures, such as the extension of the Lease Buyback Scheme to four-room Housing Board flats and the option for elderly to take out part of their Central Provident Fund (CPF) savings in a lump sum after age 65, subject to limits.

Separately, the setting up of a Municipal Services Office to streamline and improve public service delivery was also welcomed as a "much needed effort" by some who wrote in, Reach said in a press release.

Reach chairman Amy Khor, who is also the Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower, said: "Singaporeans have largely responded positively to the National Day Rally, saying that it was an uplifting, heartwarming and caring message, which resonated with different segments of the population."

She added: "They appreciated PM taking pains to explain the mechanics and rationale of the CPF scheme and Minimum Sum to them, as well as PM paying tribute to the work and contributions of our Pioneer Generation."

Many Reach contributors praised the Lease Buyback Scheme, saying that it would provide a welcomed additional monetisation option for the elderly. They also acknowledged that it was not a "one-size-fits-all" solution, as there are some who prefer to leave their houses to their children.

They also welcomed the move to give CPF members the option to withdraw a lump sum once they turn 65, though they said there should be safeguards to prevent depletion of funds.