SINGAPORE - Non-Constituency MP Daniel Goh wants the retirement age to be removed and the re-employment age to be raised to 70, to help workers age with dignity and independence.
Forcing them to retire prematurely is a waste of human capital, said Dr Goh, who also urged the Government to restore the Central Provident Fund (CPF) contributions of these workers.
"Our older workers should be respected for their experience gathered in a lifetime, and not forcibly retired when they still have so much to contribute in meaningful ways," he said in Parliament on Tuesday (Feb 26) during the debate on the Budget statement.
Dr Goh, who is from the Workers’ Party, was one of three MPs to call for changes to the retirement and re-employment ages. The others were Workers' Party MP Faisal Manap (Aljunied GRC) and Nominated MP Arasu Duraisamy, who is a member of the National Trades Union Congress' central committee.
Dr Goh, however, also stressed that removing the retirement age does not mean getting Singaporeans to "work until they die".
"It is to reform the system so that Singaporeans do not have to worry about their finances and can retire in their 60s if they want to, but they can also continue to work if they want to," he said.
Dr Goh, speaking in support of his party's call for a permanent universal heathcare scheme for seniors, also urged the Government to allow partial CPF withdrawals if a person is so physically or mentally incapacitated that they cannot work for a significant period of time.
He also proposed other changes to help Singaporeans age with independence. These included allowing CPF payouts at the age of 60, increasing Medisave top-ups for older women to close the gender gap in CPF, and promoting the Lease Buyback Scheme among those in the Merdeka Generation, who were born in the 1950s.
Many women in the Merdeka Generation may have suffered the opportunity cost of giving up full-time work to care for others, but this work has gone unpaid, Dr Goh said.
He added that many seniors are unaware of the Lease Buyback Scheme, which allows seniors who need money to sell part of the lease of their public housing flat to the Housing Board without having to downgrade to smaller flats in unfamiliar neighbourhoods.