Wrong to compare S'pore with Netherlands, Germany

Elderly people attending a community event in Toa Payoh on Sep 19, 2018.
Elderly people attending a community event in Toa Payoh on Sep 19, 2018.PHOTO: ST FILE

Lowering the payout eligibility age for CPF Life, currently pegged at age 65, will allow retirees to have more spare cash for their daily living needs, thereby lessening their cost-of-living burden (CPF Life payouts: Minimum age for withdrawal stays at 65; Jan 16).

Manpower Minister Josephine Teo recently cited the examples of the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany to support her argument for not reducing the minimum age for withdrawal.

However, these countries have markedly different systems in place to support their elderly.

For instance, in Germany, there are two types of unemployment benefits - one to support those who are temporarily out of employment and another for other workers who do not qualify for the former.

These countries also have comprehensive state-supported programmes for their residents to rely on.

Instead, we should look at the Singapore model of self-reliance - examine the individual's propensity to support himself with gainful employment and see how we can help the Merdeka Generation cope with healthcare and living expenses.

Many people in Singapore are feeling the pinch in terms of the rising cost of living. We should not brush aside people's request to lower the payout age.

After all, they are not seeking a government handout, but merely asking for their own money to be distributed to them earlier.

Raymond Han

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 23, 2019, with the headline 'Wrong to compare S'pore with Netherlands, Germany'. Print Edition | Subscribe