CPF top-ups, deductions continue for man missing for 23 years

He is deemed alive and eligible for benefits as he hasn't been registered as dead: CPF Board

Central Provident Fund (CPF) payments and other assistance have been going to a man who has been missing for 23 years because he has yet to be officially declared dead.

Mr Boo Meng Hock has received a total of about $15,000 in cash and CPF top-ups, which have offset MediShield Life premium deductions of about $7,300, the CPF Board said last Wednesday.

It has continued the payments because Mr Boo has not been registered as dead with the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA).

Until that happens, he is presumed to be alive and eligible for benefits - and liable for deductions.

The board's clarification came in response to a Facebook post by Mr Boo's daughter, Ms Emily Boo, also known on Facebook as Yukimi Wu.

On Aug 5, Ms Boo posted a photo of a police report made in 1996 about her father's disappearance. He was in his 50s.

Ms Boo said the CPF Board has been deducting money annually from her father's account for MediShield, but the family cannot stop this as they have no death certificate. "We suspected he has been murdered, but his body hasn't been found. There is no proper burial for him. We assumed he is still alive."

He was last seen by friends at Singapore Island Country Club, where he worked as a caddy, Ms Boo said.

 YUKIMI WU/FACEBOOK
The CPF Board's response came after Ms Emily Boo posted a photo of a 1996 police report on the disappearance of her father, Mr Boo Meng Hock. PHOTO: YUKIMI WU/FACEBOOK

Although missing people are usually presumed dead if they have not been heard from for seven years, a court order is needed to obtain a presumption of death certificate.

Ms Boo said her family did not apply for this as the legal fees were too high. The CPF Board has urged her to obtain the court order and submit it to the ICA as soon as possible.

When a Singaporean or permanent resident's death is registered, the CPF Board will be notified. CPF savings are then distributed to the person's nominees or sent to the Public Trustee to distribute. Those who need financial assistance can approach the Legal Aid Bureau, said the CPF Board.

"We empathise with Ms Boo and the situation that her family is facing... We have reached out to Ms Boo to explain the steps to declare her father as deceased," it said.

It said neither Ms Boo nor other family members have sought its help with the premium deductions.

Funds Mr Boo received over the years include Pioneer Generation, GST (goods and services tax) voucher and other government Medisave top-ups amounting to $7,000, as well as GST vouchers and SG Bonus in cash totalling $4,600, it added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 14, 2019, with the headline 'CPF top-ups, deductions continue for missing man'. Print Edition | Subscribe