SINGAPORE - While it is prudent to adjust the CPF Minimum Sum every year to beat inflation and help Singaporeans meet their retirement needs, the burden to meet the sum should not fall solely on individual Singaporeans, said Worker's Party MP Png Eng Huat on Thursday.
Rather, the Government should help people grow their CPF savings, he urged as he joined the chorus of calls by MPs to help Singaporeans boost their CPF savings.
"While we want Singaporeans to work longer and harder for their retirement, it is also prudent to make our CPF savings work harder for us at the same time," said Mr Png.
He acknowledged that the Government had done so on some counts, for example, by extending employment age beyond 55 years old through legislation so that people can work longer and save more.
The one thing left to do was to help grow their CPF savings through "investing wisely", and the Government should take the lead in this as many Singaporeans may not have the requisite financial knowledge or technical expertise to do so, he said.
Mr Png called for the Government to review the interest rates for the CPF Ordinary Account and Special, Medisave and Retirement Accounts, noting that they "had not changed for the past 15 years".
He also asked that the draw-down age, at which people can withdraw their CPF savings, be lowered, and said that it should not be linked to retirement age or re-employment age.
Noting that the Government intends to do so, by raising the draw-down age from 65 to 67 over time, Mr Png warned it will "leave no room for Singaporeans to decide how they want to live their lives" after they turn 55, or upon reaching the statutory minimum retirement age.
For workers who do not have any other form of life savings, the CPF savings are the only safety nets, he said, and not being able to use the money could "spell trouble".
Mr Png suggested a new CPF Life plan that will offer more flexibility.
He suggested that it should give a monthly payout with no bequest and come with an early draw-down age of 60.
"When we are young, we need a disciplined instrument like CPF to help us save for the future. But when we are old, we need a more flexible instrument to help us plan for the uncertainties of aging," he said.