Singaporeans! My Last Ditch Attempt to Let You Know the Truth About the Government!

Dear Singaporeans, 

This is my last ditch attempt to share with you the truth about our government’s management of Singapore. I have taken the statistics that I know of and put them together here. I have hyperlinked all the statistics, so you can go into the links to see for yourself the statistics, and understand them. 

Please join the dots. If you are not willing to do so, there is not much that I can help you with anymore. We are apparently tops in the world in mathematics. Please don’t let me down. 

Here goes.

*****

How Much Are We Really Paying in Taxes?

In 2011, Singaporeans paid a personal income tax of $6,679 million and GST tax of $8,914 million. In 2011, Singaporeans contributed $22,909 million to the CPF. The CPF accumulated assets in 2011 thus far is $209,766 million.

The government claims that they do not want to increase our income tax because we wouldn’t like it, and so they claim that they are unable to increase their spending in social services to benefit Singaporeans. But actually, we are already paying $15,593 million in taxes to the government every year. What the government doesn’t say explicitly is that we are also paying another $22,909 million to CPF – this is 1.5 times more than the taxes that we pay.

Our income tax is between 0% to 20% and the GST tax rate is 7%. This means that between 7% to 27% of the tax produces $15,593 million. If we include the $22,909 million from CPF, this means that we are paying to the government $38,502 million in 2011. Our CPF employee contributions is between 5% to 20%. What this means is that the ‘tax’ we effectively pay is between 12% to 47%, if you add the income tax, GST tax and CPF contributions together.

And if you look at the total CPF accumulated assets, the $209,766 million is 13 times higher than the income and GST tax we pay to the government last year. Where is all this money going? Of this $209,766 million, only $10,436 million is withdrawn by the members (Singaporeans), which represents only 5% of the total CPF assets. Where is the rest of the 95% of our CPF monies going?

What’s more, according to IRAS’s website, Singaporeans have to pay more in income tax in 2012. Do you know that the income tax is only raised for those earning up to $160,000 annually? For the richest in Singapore, the income tax isn’t raised. This is exactly what the Republicans are arguing for in America – to protect the rich. The government raised income tax in 2012, but only for the low and middle income groups.

Up to here, are you still with me? In short, the government says we have a low personal income tax. But actually, if you see what we are really giving our government, the ‘tax’ is a lot higher. Not only that, taxes were increased but only for the low and middle income groups, and not for the high income earners. Do we have the money for more social spending? I will leave that for you to decide. But, not before I share more with you next.

Where is Our CPF Monies Going?

So, where is the 95% of our CPF monies going, you ask? According to the Ministry of Finance (MOF), “CPF monies are invested in bonds that are issued and guaranteed by the Singapore Government – Singapore Government Securities (SGS) and Special Singapore Government Securities (SSGS).”

According to CPF, for the Ordinary Account (OA) “the computed CPF interest rate (is) derived from the major banks’ interest rates for the three-mont6h period, 1 August 2012 to 31 October 2012, worked out to be 0.21% per annum. As this is below the legislated minimum of 2.50% per annum, the OA interest rate for January 2013 to March 2013 will remain unchanged at the legislated minimum of 2.50% per annum.

According to CPF, “savings in the Special, Medisave and Retirement Account (SMRA) have been invested in Special Government Securities (SSGS) which earn an interest rate pegged to the 12-month average yield of 10-year Singapore Government Securities (10YSGS) plus 1%.” The average yield of the 10YSGS from September 2011 to August 2012 is 1.55%. Thus the SMRA interest rate is 1.55% + 1% = 2.55%. But “in view of the continuing uncertainty in the global economy and low interest rate environment, the Government has decided to further extend the 4% floor rate for interest earned on all SMRA monies for another year until 31 December 2013.”

Everything sounds good up to now right? The government helps us to invest our money. And on top of what the prevailing interest rates are, they continue to assure us of a higher interest rate. All sounds well right? Well, explain to me then:

  1. If our “CPF monies are invested in bonds that are issued and guaranteed by the Singapore Government”, then why is our OA interest rates pegged to the bank’s interest rates and not to the interest rates of these bonds?
  2. Also, where does the government magically get the additional interest rates to give us? They have to invest our CPF monies elsewhere.

And this is where it all gets tricky, and where they choose to fumble our minds. You actually have to search through a few websites to get the following information.

Where is Our CPF Monies Actually Really Going?

According to MOF, “no Government borrowings are for spending”, “all borrowing proceeds are therefore invested”.

  1. You actually have to go to another page to understand that this ‘Government borrowings’ is actually from our CPF, where they then say that, “Borrowings are not for spending. Singapore Government Securities (SGS) are issued to develop the domestic debt market and Special Singapore Government Securities (SSGS) are non-tradable bonds issued specifically to meet the investment needs of the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board.”
  2. Then, they make you jump to another page before they reveal to you where our CPF monies is actually invested – “All the proceeds from the Government’s borrowing must therefore be invested in reserves … (then they say) The Government’s assets are mainly managed by the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC). The Moneytary Authority of Singapore (MAS), which is a statutory board, manages its own assets. Temasek Holdings (Temasek), which is wholly owned by the Government, also manages its own assets.” Does it sound confusing at this point? Don’t worry, you are not the only one who is confused.
  3. And then, they divert you to another page. And then it makes more sense: “Our reserves are managed by three agencies – the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC), Temasek Holdings (Temasek) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). The Government’s assets, other than its deposits with MAS and its stake in Temasek, are mainly managed by the GIC. The MAS, which is a statutory board, manages its own assets. Temasek, which is wholly owned by the Government, also manages its own assets.

In short, our CPF monies are invested in GIC and Temasek. The CPF website stops short of saying that – it says our CPF monies are invested in government bonds which give low returns. But you have to dig several pages of information before you find out where our CPF monies are really going.

How Much is Our CPF Monies Really Earning?

So, the CPF says that our CPF monies is actually earning only 0.21% for the OA and 1.55% on SMRA?

Not really. Our CPF monies is eventually invested in GIC and Temasek. According to MOF, “the real rate of return on the GIC-managed portfolio, i.e. in excess of global inflation (over the 20 years to 31 March 2012), was 3.9%.” Also, “Temasek’s Total Shareholder Return since inception (1974) was 17% p.a. in SGD terms.” Do you notice that MOF/GIC was quite sneaky – the nominal rate of return for GIC is actually 6.8% but they choose to highlight the real rate of return.

In short, our CPF monies is actually earning an interest of 6.8% and 17% from GIC and Temasek respectively. Why did they tell us that it was only earning 0.21% from the banks and 1.55% from the bonds? So that they can choose not to give us our returns back?

By now, you should be able to see that our government has constructed some half-truths.

  1. Firstly, the government has collected more ‘taxes’ than what they have put out. Not only that, they have increased taxes for the low to middle income groups but not of high income earners. The government can afford to increase social spending. Why did it not?

  2. Also, the amount of CPF monies collated is actually significantly higher than the taxes collected. The CPF monies is actually earning interest significantly higher than what the government tells us. Why did the government choose to lie to us? Why did it not want us to see clearly how much our CPF monies is actually earning?

What is the truth behind GIC and Temasek that the government wants to hide? The GIC and Temasek are both owned by the government. What does the government want to hide?

The Truth About GIC and Temasek

You should know by now that under Temasek’s portfolio, there are many Singapore-owned companies involved in the management of essential public services, such as in Finance (DBS Group), telecommunications (Mediacorp, Singtel and Starhub (through Singapore Technologies Telemedia)), transportation (Keppel Corporation, NOL, PSA, Sembcorp, ST Engineering, Singapore Airlines, SMRT), electricity (Singapore Power) and real estate (Capitaland, Mapletree), among others.

Do you know that Temasek has total assets of $303 billion – which is about 1.5 times more than our CPF total assets? Do you know that in 2012, Temasek earned a revenue of $83.5 billion and net profit of $10.7 billion?

Do you know that most of the Singapore-owned companies under Temasek also earned millions and billions in revenue and profits?

Here’s the list:

Capitaland ($7.4 billion; $1.1 billion)

DBS Group (Revenue: $7.1 billion; Net profit: $2.6 billion)

Keppel Corporation ($10.1 billion; $1.5 billion)

Mapletree ($574 million; $807 million)

NOL ($9.2 billion; -$474 million)

PSA ($4.3 billion; $1.2 billion)

SATS ($1.7 billion; $185 million)

Singtel ($18.8 billion; $4.0 billion)

Sembcorp ($8.8 billion; $793 million)

Singapore Airlines ($14.9 billion; $336 million)

Singapore Power ($7.8 billion; $893 million)

SMRT ($1.1 billion, $120 million)

Starhub ($2.3 billion; $315 million)

ST Engineering ($6.0 billion; $528 billion)

In total, the companies earn more than $100 billion in revenue and nearly $15 billion in profits. I will not even go into the CEO salaries which runs into the millions. I hope that I do not need to go into how reducing the wages of workers working in these companies and increasing the prices (and fares) of goods and services in these companies will allow the companies to continue to profit from Singaporeans.

Strangely, I am not able to see the portfolio that GIC manages, except to see Lee Kuan Yew’s face on their report. I suppose they think that that would suffice – I mean, you learn not to question anymore when faced with Lee Kuan Yew. Though, according to MOF, “GIC manages well over US$100 billion.” I don’t know what’s with the secrecy, but I no longer buy their reason that, “it is not in our national interest to publish the full size of our reserves. If we do so, it will make it easier for markets to mount speculative attacks on the Singapore dollar during periods of vulnerability.”

Of course, you might say – but you know, the government does use the money from the reserves to provide for us on rainy days. Sure, they might have given back to Singaporeans $7.8 billion through the Net Investment Returns Contribution (NIRC) in FY2010, which MOF says has “has allowed the Government to make further investments for the long term, such as in education, R&D, healthcare and improving our physical environment.” This $7.8 billion is only a puny 0.1% of the possibly more than $600 billion that the government has in the reserves!

To me, the ridiculously high amount of money that they are taking from us, and yet not returning it, signifies that we have a lot more money than we need. Telling us that they cannot give us back the money because of the reserves, and yet paying the management of the companies under their portfolio such high salaries while having billions in revenue and profits, just doesn’t quite gel with how we need to ensure we protect our reserves. If that’s the case, it would seem to me to be common sense that we ensure we put the money back into the reserves instead of into their and their shareholders’ pockets. It just doesn’t sound right anymore.

The veil have lifted over my eyes. I will leave it to your judgment and imagination whether you want to lift the veil over yours.

Up to this point, I hope you understand what I’m trying to get across. The government takes a ridiculous amount of money from us, but claim that they do not have enough to give us back for social spending. Yet, they continue to have enough to increase the profits of the government-linked companies and salaries of the management of these companies. In short, the poor in Singapore can suffer while the rich become richer. We are moreover a capitalistic government afterall, despite how we pretend to be a democracy, or meritocracy, or whatever.

Richest Country in the World But Money No Enough for the People

But it’s fair if they earn that much money and give us back our money anyway, right, you say?

OK, let’s look at what we are getting back.

According the The Wealth Report 2012, Singapore has the highest GDP per capita in the world in 2010. Our GDP per capita is more than S$70,000. Since the government is so rich – they are taking away so much of our money and we now have the highest GDP per capita, that means the government has more to give, right?

According to the World Health Organisation, in 2009, the general government expenditure on health as % of total expenditure on health is 36.1%. This actually went down from 51.4% in 2000. Compare this with countries in a similar economic progress as Singapore and you will get a shock. In South Korea, government expenditure accounts for 58.2% of total expenditure on health, an increase from the 48.6% in 2000. In Australia, government expenditure accounts for 68.0%, up from 66.8%. In Canada, government expenditure accounts for 70.6%, up from 70.4%. In Japan, government expenditure accounts for 82.3%, up from 80.8%.

The richest country in the world damn world, and you have to make your people fork out money from their own pockets like idiots? You are kidding me, right?

Even in the second richest country in the world, in Norway, government expenditure accounts for 84.1%, up from 82.5%. America, which is third, could also increase the government expenditure from 43.2% in 2000 to 47.7% in 2009. And in our so-called poorer neighbouring countries, in Malaysia, government expenditure accounts for 55.7%, and in Thailand, it’s 74.6%.

You are telling me that all the other ‘poorer’ countries in the world can afford to subsidise for the healthcare of their citizens by a much larger proportion than Singapore can, even though we are the richest country in the world?

Remind me again, why are we thumping our chests and letting the world know why we are so proud that we have so much money when the kind of treatment we give to our people is even worse than in third world countries? You are kidding me, right?

You are freaking kidding me, right? Not only could we not pay more than all the other countries which are poorer than us, there was a 15% dip in the proportion that the government is willing to pay. Then why on earth are we paying so much to the government??

Negative Wage Growth and A Quarter of Singaporeans Earning Less than $1,500

At this point, I will throw out a few other statistics to help you make up your mind, or not. It’s up to you.

According to the Global MetroMonitor 2011, which PM Lee Hsien Loong had quoted at a speech to the Economic Society, Singapore registered the lowest income growth rate among 200 countries. In fact, we registered a negative growth, or lack thereof, of -8.9%.

According to the CPF, there are 294,364 Singaporeans earning below $1,000 (or 17% of the Singaporean workers) and 458,617 Singaporeans earning below $1,500 (or 26% of the Singaporean workers). According to the report, “Unmet Social Needs in Singapore“, by the Lien Centre for Social Innovation , “today, there still is no official poverty line but it is identified to be in the range of gross income of $1,500-$1,700 per household per month.” According to the same report, from the General Household Survey 2005, there are between 21,000 and 88,000 that could be “managed single-handedly by single women, single men or divorcees and are residing in smaller HDB flats or earning a per capita income that is below the subsistence level.”

In Summary…

Singapore is the richest country in the world. The government has created an institutionalised system where they are able to take money from us not only from our income and GST taxes, but also from our CPF. We are not told the full extend as to how the CPF monies are used but they are actually invested with high returns, though only a puny amount returns back to us. At the same times, our wages register a negative growth – our wages do not grow but in fact, dip, yet we are made to pay ever increasing prices of goods, and recently, proposed fare increases for transport. Yet, in spite of all this, the government refuses to help Singaporeans foot the ever increasing costs of healthcare. At the same time, the proportionate spending by the government on healthcare has dropped significantly, by 15%, and Singaporeans are made to take on the burden of the exorbitant increase in healthcare costs. 17% of Singaporeans earn below $1,000 every month, and a quarter of Singaporeans earn below $1,500. A minimum of $1,500 is needed for a Singaporean household to survive adequately. How many of these families are actually able to make ends meet? While the rich keep earning more and more, and while their tax rates do not increase, while only the tax rates for those in the low and middle income group increase, the income inequality is only getting higher and higher (Singapore has the second highest income gap between the rich and the poor, as indicated by the Gini coefficient, among the 38 countries with very high human development, according to the 2009 United Nations Development Report). We are the richest country in the world but we cannot, or rather, the government doesn’t want to do what it can to help the people, and at the same time, help the rich get richer, while expecting the poor to makeup for the rich’s increase in their income.

Is this fair? The whole of Singapore has been talking about how unfair the government is towards is people. Are we saying it for fun? Are we saying it because we are just angry people who have nothing better to do but to tear our government apart? Are we crazy lunatics who rant online because we do not know how to be contended?

I am telling you this – the statistics are all online for you to see. See for yourself what the truth is. Yes, I might put this picture together in this article, but there are many other statistics that you can look at. If you are a poor person, you most probably won’t have access to a computer or the Internet on a daily basis and you wouldn’t be able to access this information. For the rest of us who are reading this and reading everything else online, do we have a responsibility to help make the lot of those who are poorer than us better? And the answer is yes. Sure, we can continue to live our lives and blame the poor for not helping themselves, for not picking themselves up and doing something about their lives. Sure, we could do that – are you telling me that all 17% or 26% of the population are useless bums who do not know how else to live their lives except to suck off others? Are you telling me that when the government is subsidising only 36.1% of healthcare costs that we should really blame the poor for not doing something about their lives? The elderly are coming out to work because they do not have enough money in their pockets to make ends meet, and how do we expect them to foot their medical bills? If I am an elderly, I might just choose to die quietly at home. It’s so much easier than to beg the government to give you more when they are so hard-pressed to allow the money they’ve accumulated to be used for anything, other the the betterment of Singaporeans!

Are we crazy to continue to support a government which continues to suck us dry and yet returns puny amounts back to us? This is the richest country in the world, with the highest per capita reserves in the world, and we cannot afford to do better for our people? And yet, every other day, we hear that there are more and more millionaires, and that the income inequality is becoming higher and higher? Are we crazy not to help the poor? Yes, we are – the 60% of you who voted for the PAP. What will you do to ensure the PAP does what it said that it will do?

I am utterly, utterly disappointed with my government. You have enough money and yet you want to make more money. No one is saying stop making the money. What we are saying is – care a bit more for the hearts and minds of those of us who are making this money for you. Do you have no heart at all? Do you? How much more do you want to earn before it’s enough for you? How many more generations of Singaporeans do you want to enslave before it is enough for you? How many more stressed up kids who grow up not knowing how to be happy do you want to create? All because you want money? All because you want to be rich?

33 comments

  1. theonion

    Singapore has one of the lowest taxes.

    For Cars, yes, but considering the state of public infratstructure, it is fine but of course could be better

    CPF is not a tax, it is a pension scheme similiar to USA 401K or Oz superfund.

    Not sure what Koolaid you are drinking, but you are out on this.

    Where you are on, is on the rates of return and retention sums but for that you have to give and take, as it ties in with housing loans and risk free returns.

    Have a good weekend ahead

    • My Right to Love

      Dear theonion,

      CPF is not a tax – but the government takes the money and use it for investment. Effectively, we are binded by law to lend the government this money, which they get to invest in.

      If we invest our money in investments on our own, the interest that we earn comes back. But does the interest that the government uses our money to invest in comes back?

      That’s the question.

      Thank you.

      Roy

      • My Right to Love

        And the next question is this – do we want all our money earned from the interests to come back? No, that would be very selfish of us. We have a responsibility to grow the assets of Singapore as well.

        But the issue is this – when the government slights their responsibility and chooses not to pay fair wages or to treat workers right, and favours the companies at the expense of workers and the people, then something is not quite right.

      • shopaholicannoymous

        Just a quick comment, MAYBE the current working generation, the ones in their 20s-30s right now know how to invest, how to look for the proper type of funds to grow their investment the way they want. But as someone in her early 20s, I can honestly say that there are very few people in the generation before me tht have the know-how and the patience to figure out investing for themselves, much less my grandparents’ generation. And can you get 6% returns from the banks tht most of them would have left their money in, if they didn’t spend it all?

        The SG government right now, is also faced with a duality problem. 1) We have an aging population, and we have exactly 0 resources outside of our working population. 2) No one in SG wants immigrants and we have no infrastructure to support them.

        To care for an aging population, SG needs money….lots of it. For more hospitals, more doctors, more old aged homes (unfortunately) etc. To prop up a decreasing work population, they need more housing, more roads, more MRT lines…and we CAN’T avoid bringing in people because no one born and raised in SG is willing to work the sort of high labour, low pay jobs that the migrant workers are picking up…and like I said the entire economy in SG is based strictly on our work force and foreign company investment…which we’re now losing because China is coming up as a much cheaper option for manufacturing etc.

        I highly doubt taxes (Singaporeans pay a comparatively low tax compared to North Americans) are enough to pay for them, which is where the rest of the CPF returns are coming in. And yes, comparatively SG’s CPF is not giving returns at as high a rate as USA, Canada etc. But, our taxes in Canada can go as high as 50% of the salary (not counting our government mandated retire fund), which does pay for infrastructure etc. As for paying the people who run SG investment companies, I’m sure they’re earning comparatively equal to major hedge funds. Because if you need brains, you’ve got to pay a premium for it, if not brain drain occurs.

        I understand, wanting to know where the money is going. More accountability is needed. But really, other than that, I’m not sure what the PAP has done wrong yet. Also, speculating on dollars can be pretty deadly to the economy, it doesn’t start a crisis but it sure greases the wheels for one. I’m pretty sure China learned from the 1997 crisis, because their currency is non-tradable.

        Just thoughts.

      • fhookheong

        Yes older generation don’t know how to invest in today’s unit trusts and shares. They don’t hire multi million fund managers whose income is NOT pegged to performance. Older generation buy gold, buy taxi license, invest in real things and real assets. Not paper promises.

    • fhookheong

      I’m sorry to assume you’d understand.
      My point is: even without investment knwledge and multi million fund managers, whatever they chose may not have performed worse. However it was their indivudual responsibility and choice. Today we have taken that CHOICE away and given a false sense of GUARANTEE. While you may be promised a return or interest of 2-4%, the nature of the global monetary system ensures that your buying power is eroded by inflation greater than the interest paid.

  2. adrian

    hello

    1) on cpf – the interest rate of 2.5% or 2.6% is actually quite decent (and 4% for special account or something), regardless of how the economy is doing. if we want to peg our cpf interest to profits of the national investments, we have to take note that in bad times, are we prepared to have the loss cut into our cpf?

    2) our raw median income is increasing every year according to official statistics, our real median income (adjusted for inflation) is still positive every year too (although barely). if you’re talking about the 10th pecentile of the population, have you taken into regards the redistribution efforts?

    3) CPF monies is real hard cash. for those who are really discontented, they can migrate and draw them out, and buy a row of terrace houses in JB or something. its not really a ‘tax’.

    so i think the gahmen is not ‘sucking us dry’ (well since CPF contribution is always a percentage). hope i offered you another perspective

    • Fhoo Kheong

      adrian,
      “CPF monies is real hard cash” – I would like to see you buy a Happy Meal with it.

      “for those who are really discontented……..” its the age old rhetoric – don’t like it get out. whatever happened to citizens rights and patriotism and sense of belonging. Some people still bother to “rant” and “complain” because they still love their country. Is it healthy for a country to shun its citizen and favour new immigrants?

      “……….. its not really a ‘tax’.” hint that you do think its somewhat a tax. Just under a different name. If you call a car a hatchback, is it still a car? We pay for gahmen thru taxes and inflation. CPF monies are usually used to pay for HDB. As HDB prices goes up, the purchasing power of your CPF monies goes down. If you had already bought your HDB, you’re happy! Its called appreciation. But if you have not, its call asset inflation. Your hard-earned CPF monies had just reduced in value. And that’s the truth. inflatng property prices is robbing the value of our dollar.

      I hope I offered YOU another perspective – other than the one that is being drilled into us so often we thought it was our own.

  3. My Right to Love

    Dear Adrian,

    Actually, I don’t disagree with you on the decency of the interest rate. However, what I do have issue with is this – if indeed our CPF is eventually invested in GIC and Temasek and earning interests of 7% and 17%, why is there a concerted effort to prevent this information from being easily accessible? Why must this information be put in such a convoluted manner and on different sites? Why is there such an effort to hide this information? What is there to hide?

    Agree – we need to think long term. If you look at the reserves – now we really do not have any idea how much there is at all – at the minimum, there is enough money to last us for the next 10 years at least, on the current budget. It might even last us another 15, 20 or 25 years. Thing is we do not know how much there is in the reserves. I agree – we need to have enough savings to tide us through. The other question is – why doesn’t PAP let us know how much there is? Effectively, they are saying only PAP can know how much there is? Why? If another government takes over, they would have to know of this amount. Will PAP still safeguard the information, without letting the next government know? Or is there only a few people safeguarding this amount, and for what purpose?

    Look at the interview with Christopher Balding to have a much better idea of how our CPF monies is being played out: http://newasiarepublic.com/?p=39938

    One crucial importance on understanding the CPF is this – our Medifund comes from this as well. Already the % of healthcare costs that the government pays is very, very low, compared to the developed and even the developing countries. This means that we need to have enough spare cash. Otherwise, Medisave is very important to us. The interest rate for Medisave is at 4% currently. If the people aren’t having enough to pay, doesn’t it make sense to increase the interest rate for Medisave so that the people have more to pay for healthcare? Why does the government prefers/insists on increasing CPF contributions, instead of channel some of the interests back?

    I find it confusing too that in the official statistics, it looks like our real income is growing in some years. Yet, in the Global MetroMonitor report, it shows that we have the lowest, and negative wage growth. The government isn’t disputing this information, is it? In fact, PM Lee had quoted from this source. Obviously, the government doesn’t disagree with the information and statistics in the Global MetroMonitor. If this is the case, it’s a question of methodology – who has manipulated the statistics? Whose statistics are more real, in that sense? Note again – the government doesn’t dispute the statistics in the Global MetroMonitor. You are asking me why the official statistics given by the government is different? I would like to know too.

    Leong Sze Hian will be able to give you a much better explanation: http://leongszehian.com/?p=2121

    Of course, CPF can be withdrawn and taken away. As I have shared in the article, only 0.5% of the CPF monies have actually been withdrawn. Over the number of years, the CPF monies have accumulated to such an extend that there is hundreds of billions within it. I am not saying give it all back. But where is it going? High interest rates which do not come back. Fine and well – I do believe in the national security of Singapore to ensure that there is sufficient safety net that we have over the next few years.

    BUT – if the ensuring of the safety net comes at the expense of workers – when the number of workers earning below $1,000 grew in 2005, because of a poor policy making, which resulted in the workers’ wages being repressed, which the government could have stepped in to prevent, and if the income inequality increases so drastically, and if the workers are not allowed to demonstrate or share on their unhappiness, and when they do, that the ministry chooses to slight and ignore them – when – when all these is happening and we are saying accumulating wealth is more important – all at the expense of people’s rights, dignity and the fair treatment of people – basic fair treatment – THEN SOMETHING IS VERY, VERY WRONG.

    I understand why we need more and more money. I do. But at what costs? At the expense of bullying other people? At the expense of denying people’s rights? At some point, we have to stop allowing to be lied left, right, centre silly, and realise what we are being told doesn’t quite match up.

    Thanks much!

    Roy

  4. wong tong kwong

    Really drama mama, and I need to pay $3 first to use my own money in the medisave account. And no one has the right to tell me to emigrate , it is as good as saying if you are poor, give up your space to the rich and leave this country.Really drama.Thanks to the internet, I am able to read Mr Leong Sze Hian, Mr Christopher Balding, Singapore Notes etc…

  5. wong tong kwong

    And I have been promised, many years ago that this pension-like CPF would be returned in a lump sum upon reaching 55 years of age. I have waited in vain.

  6. Neo Zhizhong

    “Of this $209,766 million, only $10,436 million is withdrawn by the members (Singaporeans), which represents only 0.5% of the total CPF assets.”

    i stopped here.

    Don’t know what you have to say in the rest of the article, but in order to talk about the billions and millions, i think you have to get your basic small numbers right. I’m pretty sure that there are other arithmetic errors in the rest.

    • My Right to Love

      Dear Zhizhong,

      Not quite sure what you refer to as the error here. Would it be possible to clarify?

      I would be glad to have your guidance on this.

      Other than that, I hope, as most people have, that we are also able to look at the larger picture. I have written this article because I want to share with Singaporeans on the larger picture. Not many people have written about this and I’ve tried my best to do it.

      I might not have written the best article but I hope that it is able to provide some insight or provoke some thinking. Or it might not. Or there might be someone else who has written a better article. Do feel free to let me know.

      At this point, what’s important is a sharing and consolidation of knowledge. That’s really my aim here.

      Thank you.

      Roy

  7. Pingback: Singaporeans! My Last Ditch Attempt to Let You Know the Truth About the Government! « bulletproofx
  8. CY

    With regards to income tax, I am afraid you have made one big mistake. The Government did not raise the income taxes for the poor! Please read carefully:

    For chargable income first 20k and the next 10k, it is 2% in 2012 compared to 3.5% from 2007 to 2011. And please compare the remaining tax brackets as well.

    Therefore it is incorrect to say that Singaporeans have to pay more income tax in 2012.

  9. nelg

    i think this is a really bad article imo. Two quick points.

    1) You need to learn basic accounting.

    They may be investing our CPF, but that doesn’t affect our CPF balance does it? It’s like you depositing your money in the bank. The money doesn’t stay in some safe place and wait for your withdrawal. It is loaned out to other people. That’s how banks work. I’m glad the government is putting the money to good use. Please try to understand this very fundamental flaw to your argument.

    2) This sentence.

    “Do you notice that MOF/GIC was quite sneaky – the nominal rate of return for GIC is actually 6.8% but they choose to highlight the real rate of return.”

  10. Tan Choon Hong

    Thanks for doing all the digging to help reveal where our money is hiding. While some commentators have issues with details, the thrust of your argument is cause for reflection by all who care how this country is run.

  11. Sette

    Hello Roy

    Pointing out a Factual/ arithmetic error

    “This $7.8 billion is only a puny 0.1% of the possibly more than $600 billion that the government has in the reserves!”

    That would be 1% . .and not 0.1%

    Also ..
    Would like to point out

    Like what theonion said.. SIngapore has one of the lowest income taxes.
    Try working as a US citizen and you will know the pain of taxes.
    (10 to 35% ) compared to Singapore (0 to 20%)

    yes , it means that their poor get tax 10% instead of 0%

    Cheers
    Sette

  12. Pingback: Dear Singaporeans, Do You Know The Real Reason Why They Do Not Want To Increase Taxes? Profits. « The Heart Truths
  13. obviousman

    I don’t know about this in detail, but if we can use our CPF to BUY HOUSING (even if it’s really expensive housing), how does this translate to the gahmen taxing us more? After all, we still get to use a significant amount of our CPF (expensive housing means we take more money out of the CPF what) which means the gahmen isn’t holding it which means CPF isn’t a tax…

    • My Right to Love

      Hi, as I’ve mentioned, the amount of CPF monies that we withdraw from CPF have been dropping since 2001.

      I refer to this article for a more detailed picture of how the CPF assets is increasing, but what is coming back to Singaporeans has been decreasing, and more: http://theonlinecitizen.com/2012/12/cpf-contributions-exceed-withdrawals-by-138/

      If you read the graphs I had drawn in the article, you will be able to see the trend clearly. Thanks.

      – In short, our CPF money is coming lesser and lesser back to us. This is not forgetting the interest rate we are obtaining from our CPF is based on a rate that’s not reflective of the actual interest earned by the eventual investment of the CPF – 17% and 6.8%.

    • observor

      Try to figure out this scenario,
      You make products that you try to sell to your employees.
      You create a Savings scheme for your employees.
      You then allow your employees to use the saving scheme to buy your products.

      Conclusion, you are assured of a market for your products.
      Plus: (in the case of HDB Flats) you are helping the people to own their homes. (makes you look like a good guy)

      Continuing: And in the process of buying and selling, there are taxes involved, and other legal fees.

  14. observor

    I have to commend you on the amount of statistics that you have to sieve through,
    I agree with you on some points, like sucking our monies, paying us short of what we deserve, using our monies under veils, being secretive here and there,
    BUT, I have to disagree with you on the way you consolidate the data.
    For eg., CPF is NOT Taxes; wrong computation of 27%, etc.

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  17. lea xian loon

    ” I receive CPF statement I have 50K but all this is untouchable. Even if I need an operation I cannot use it most of it. What is the point of this? Does that mean i need to die first before the money gets transferred to my kids’ CPF account? And my kids need to die before it is transferred to their kids? Does it just go on forever? Pls enlighten me I don’t really understand where my CPF money will go? Or materialize…in exact words. I’m sure the govt doesn’t write a cheque out to the next beneficiary when I die…right?”

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