What PAP Has Done to Your CPF and Doesn’t Want Singaporeans to Know (The Real History)

This is the much shorter version of the real history of the CPF which I had written yesterday. Please read this. When you finish reading this, you will know how PAP is treating your CPF for everything else, other than for your retirement, and how they have locked-in our CPF into the economy that it is now very difficult for them to pull back.

I have written this article in a way that makes it very quick and easy to read through. I have put in many graphics to make it faster to flow through. Please take a few minutes to go through this article. Knowing how your CPF works in the big picture will allow you to make the right decisions to protect your own lives. 

This is a 2-page article. Please also read page 2 as it will complete the full picture for you on how PAP uses your CPF and does not want to let you know how they do it. 

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Pages: 1 2

The CPF was set up in 1955.

The Housing Development Board was set up in 1960. Prior to 1964, the HDB’s “original objective … was to build flats for rental“. However, in 1964, the PAP government changed their objective to “selling flats to tenants in 1964“.

However, Singaporeans were not buying the flats so PAP “liberalised” the CPF and created the Home Ownership Scheme to let CPF be used to buy flats.

The government also used our CPF for another purpose which most Singaporeans do not know about. From 1968, CPF was legislated to become “a source of funds for the government“. Singapore hasn’t accumulated surpluses yet too, so the government borrowed Singaporeans’ CPF “for development expenditure … (until) it built up budgetary surplus.

As the main user of the development funds was the HDB, “CPF funds were (thus essentially) lent to the Housing Development Board so that it could build flats.”

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At the start in 1955, Singaporeans only needed to contribute 10% (5% employee and 5% employer) into the CPF.

However, in 1968, because PAP wanted “to support the(ir) national home ownership drive“, they increased the CPF contribution rates to 13%.

And so they kept increasing it to do so until 50% in 1984, until 1986.

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Edward Ng said that, “Such a high savings rate is evidence of the intent to make CPF more than a pension scheme for retirement.” Indeed, PAP extended the CPF to give HDB to use.

But why did the PAP wanted Singaporeans to “own homes”? Lee Kuan Yew had said, “I wanted a home-owning society. I … was convinced that if every family owned its home, the country would be more stable … I had seen how voters in capital cities always tended to vote against the government of the day and was determined that our householders should become homeowners, otherwise we would not have political stability.”

But the borrowing of our CPF to build HDB got out of hand. During the early 1980s, PAP started to over-build. Under the Fifth Five-Year Building Programme, the target set in 1980 was to build 85,000 to 100,000 flats. However, a massive 189,000 flats were built, or nearly twice as much.

This “contributed towards ‘over-heating’ of the economy and the property slump and recession which followed in 1985-87” as there was an “over-supply in the property market“.

Lee Kuan Yew later admitted that, “We made one of our more grievous mistakes in 1982-84 by more than doubling the number of flats we had previously built.”

But why did PAP over-build? This is because “1984 (was) an election year as well as a year for celebrating 25 years of achievement as an independent nation” and PAP wanted to get more Singaporeans to “own” their flats in time for their anniversary.

In 1986, the CPF Study Group recommended “that the authorities refrain from pursuing policies that would induce individuals to siphon more and more of their savings from their CPF to continuously upgrade their properties and to purchase additional properties, at the expense of other more pressing family needs and to the possible detriment of their ability to finance a decent old-age livelihood, besides contributing to inflating property prices.

This is because the CPF was creating an “artificial demand” for housing, as PAP wanted to achieve their “goal of 100 percent home ownership“. Thus “The use of CPF savings for the purchase of housing distorts consumption patterns … (and) The fulfilment of the political objective of home ownership by increasing CPF contribution rates so that more funds would be available for this purpose is, if true, economically inefficient.

They also said, “Since its main (and original) objective is to provide for savings for old age, the combined rate of contribution should be set at a level consistent with this objective, and it should be maintained at that level.

However, PAP went in the “opposite” direction and “promoted the upgrading policy (again) and allowed the user of CPF funds for this purpose.”

So, PAP did not stop its wanton desires to use our CPF to over-build flats and “when the Asian Financial Crisis hit in 1997,” National Development Mah Bow Tan admitted that, “HDB ended up with 31,000 unsold flats“, this time while “wast(ing) … taxpayers money”.

Thus from the 1960s to mid-1980s, the PAP kept making Singaporeans pay more into the CPF. In 1982, the then-Minister for Labour and Communications had said that “the CPF contribution rate is likely to increase to 50% in the future. Of this 50%, 40% will be for housing and other uses, 6% for Medisave and the remainder for old age and contingencies.

Which means PAP had planned to make us use 80% of our CPF to buy their flats.

However, “The international experience suggests that a contribution rate of 10 to 15 percent should be sufficient for providing a replacement rate of between 35 and 40 percent plus survivors insurance benefits,” thus is 50% (or the 37% today) too much?

The PAP was thus able to “‘create’… (their intention of) homeownership was by directing savings in the Central Provident Fund (CPF) towards housing.

Essentially, “the CPF has (become) a substitute for the mortgage market.

But is this what you think your CPF should be used for, especially since today many older Singaporeans cannot retire? Did PAP return what they took from Singaporeans and earned?

Central Provident Fund in Singapore CPF-HDB Circular Flow of Funds

Very soon, on the supply of our CPF, HDB became “the largest housing developer (and) also the largest mortgage provider… government mortgage loans totalled 60.1 billion Singapore dollars (SGD) in the year 2000, which was much higher than the total housing loans of the private sector (SGD 38.6 billion)” and the “2003 ratio of outstanding housing loans to GDP (was) 71 percent, (which was) … the highest in Asia”.

As at March 31 2012, 1.38 million members had withdrawn net amount of $ 101.9 billion for public housing scheme.

HDB became “a monopoly supplier of public housing and its mortgage provider, administered through the CPF“.

But it is also because of “the absence of common or constitutional right to land ownership” under the Land Acquisition Act 1966 that allowed PAP to do this – “land under state ownership increased from 44% in 1960 to 76% by 1985.

Initially, “The HDB was able to price its units below market prices mainly because HDB flats are built on state owned land, much of which had been compulsorily acquired from private landowners at below market prices.

Goodman, Kwon and White said that, “If there had been a strong landlord class with a vested interest in land, the housing policy could never have been carried through as easily as it was.”

However, today, the PAP government, via HDB and the real estate companies owned by Temasek Holdings, is the largest real estate owners and we can see where things have headed.

Thus PAP created “higher artificial demand” with their “homeownership policy“. Also, “The relaxation of housing rules by both the HDB and CPF made public and private housing more substitutable, (which created an) unholy alliance … as the whole residential market becomes a de facto cartel with HDB and a handful of private developers on the supply side.

Worse still, “The situation is aggravated by the state as the largest land owner and exercises land sales from its land bank on a tender system”, causing flat prices to rise even faster. Also, “the extra savings due to the CPF system had induced a demand for bigger flats in Singapore” also drove prices even further upwards.

This means that if Singaporeans are to “migrate en masse, … (this will) trigger downward spirals as more would sell their properties.

However, the escalation of housing prices does not make sense as the Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wah had recently admitted that, “we control the (public housing) construction programme; secondly, we set the price (for the HDB flats),”

If so, can PAP not prevent prices from exploding? Or, why does PAP want housing prices to escalate upwards?

Khaw Boon Wah Firstly, we control the construction programmes. Secondly, we set the price

A study by Phang and Wong (1997) shows that policies on the availability of HDB and CPF finance for housing had the most significant impacts on housing prices. These policies include extending the use of CPF savings for private housing in 1981, liberalizing the terms of HDB mortgage loans for resale flats in 1993, and the introduction of CPF grants for purchasing HDB resale flats in 1994.

As such, PAP has intentionally created policies to drive prices upwards. And they have done so by manipulating our CPF to get Singaporeans to use more CPF to soak up the HDB demand they created. Now, do you see why they needed every Singaporean to believe in owning their own homes? It might be political, but the real reason is financial.

Indeed, we can track how PAP’s policies did increase housing prices.

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Also, in the 1980s, PAP started to make flats more expensive by “increas(ing) … prices based on housing type, location, floor level, view, and other aesthetic factors,” making Singaporeans use more of our CPF to pay more for the flats.

Previously, flats were built and sold cheaply below market rates but PAP started including “Land cost … in the final selling prices … though the true formula is not revealed,” which drove flat prices upwards as well. Today, “Land now makes up about three-fifths of development cost on average, up from two-fifths in 2008.”

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PAP made flat prices grew so quickly that “between 1981 and 1988, four-room flat prices rose by an average of only 2.5% per year, but between 1988 and 1992, prices increased dramatically by an average of 12% every year!”

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Things are even worse today, from 2008 to 2013, “land costs have grown at an average compound rate of 18.2 per cent a year, compared with 9.1 per cent for HDB resale prices” but “incomes (only) rose at a compound annual rate of 5.3 per cent for the average household“.

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Professor Phang Sock-Yong said that, “The 1981 liberalization as well as the 1993 liberalization of HDB and CPF regulations for HDB resale flat housing loans had significant impacts on housing prices, contributing to the development of speculative bubbles that subsequently burst.” The same happened in 1997, 2008 and threatens to happen again today.”

Also, “Singapore’s mandatory savings and housing policies have very substantial impacts on household’s consumption and investment patterns. Savers’ and consumers’ rights in decision making are constrained by numerous CPF and HDB restrictions and regulations.”

So, why did PAP ignore the warning from the CPF Study Group in 1986 not to over-extend the CPF for housing? It is evident now – there is a lot of money for them to make from Singaporeans’ CPF and HDB, and they wanted it.

Because the “CPF started to withhold from individuals an increasingly large portion of their own financial wealth“, Professor Lim Chong-Yah thus said in the CPF Study Group’s report that this “emasculate their sense of economic initiative and enterprise”.

Dr. Richard Wong, Director of the Hong Kong Centre for Economic Research, said that, “This sequence of liberalization measures contradicted the original aims of the CPF as a compulsory savings scheme.

Professor Lim Chong Yah also said, “[T]he large sums of money vested with the fund are in effect held `hostage’ to governmental decision-making: ipso facto, this would be acceptable if there is a guarantee that future governments would be as honourable and as capable as the present one, but can such a guarantee ever be forthcoming?”

Today, the same question can be asked. Do we have a government that is “honourable and as capable”.

Wong concluded “that the Singapore CPF has probably resulted in a society where most people are more equal, except for the gap between the rulers and the ruled. But this has been achieved by forcing everyone to earn a 2 percent real rate of return on some 40 percent of their savings.”

Phang also surmised that, “Singapore’s housing strategy is inherently policy driven and centrally controlled, with major decisions on savings rate, savings allocation, land use, housing production, and housing prices being largely determined by the government. It is, in other words, a neo-classical economist’s nightmare.

Now, because the CPF contribution rates were increased from 10% in 1955 to 50% in 1984, this “restrain(ed) aggregate demand”.

Thus “The (increasing) CPF contribution (resulted in) … lower take home pay and hence less expenditure on consumption … (and) the CPF system has created a shift of demand (and hence resources) from the retailing sector to the construction sector. Therefore, compared with other economies of similar level of development, the CPF system would mean a less developed retailing sector in Singapore. This also helps to explain why the retail sector in Hong Kong is more developed than that of Singapore.

Indeed, personal consumption in Singapore has been declining.

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So has purchasing power grown much slower.

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Singaporeans also have the lowest purchasing power among the developed countries, and which is lower than even Malaysia and on par with India.

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The government, through the mandatory CPF contribution rates which have escalated,” have resulted in the “over-saving and over-investment in residential properties” but under-investment in other areas, and created a dearth of local entrepreneurship, as PAP made it more expensive for Singaporeans to start businesses via rising rental costs as well, and because of PAP’s direct competition in the economy.

Today,  Singaporeans have to pay the highest social security (CPF) contribution rate in the world.

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In 1986, supposedly “in response to public complaints that CPF interest rates were below bank rates and were also inadequate as a hedge against inflation“, “the government decided to peg CPF interest rates to market rates.

The Minister for Labour and Communications cautioned that CPF interest rates “could well be lower than what CPF is now paying” if market rates fall, and this can apparently “result in lower construction cost and hence lower selling prices of flats.” “The government (also) warned that if CPF interest rates were tied to market rates, when the latter went up, HDB mortgages would have to pay more for their loans.

Prior to 1986, the CPF interest rates kept increasing from 2.5% in 1955 to 6.5% in 1974 and remained at 6.5% for the next 12 years until 1986. Singaporeans were able to earn in our CPF.

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But from 1986, when CPF interest rates were pegged to market rates, the CPF interest rates only continued falling and never picked up from where it left off. In fact, it went all the way down to 2.5% in 1999, to the rate when CPF first started and stayed at that level.

CPF Ordinary Account Interest Rates from 1977 to 2007

PAP said that since interest rates fell, housing prices would fall as well. However, not only did flat prices never fell, they shot up and escalated dramatically.

Nominal House Price Indices and CPI cropped

The CPF that has to be withdrawn for housing mortgage also shot up.

Annual CPF Withdrawals 1960 to 2013

The CPF interest rates thus became “administered by the government and “computed monthly and compounded and credited annually.

However, Mukul Asher stated that, “there is “no economic rationale” to pay a one-year fixed deposit rate on what is essentially a 35-year or more (the duration of one’s working life) savings plan”. He also said that “the CPF real rate of interest from 1987 to 1998 is zero, thanks to inflation. And this negative replacement rate defies the logic of accumulation.”

In 1999, PAP changed the interest peg again.

Social Insecurity in the New Millennium The Central Provident Fund in Singapore 1986 & 1999 Interest Rate Computation

And from then on, Singaporeans were only receiving 2.5% interest on our CPF Ordinary Account, or the lowest since 1968.

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Leong Sze Hian has shown that Singaporeans are thus made to earn the lowest interest rates on our CPF retirement funds in the world.

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Asher and Nandy said that, “The centralized control of national savings by the government agencies and banks, however, is of considerable advantage to those controlling them,” which explains the rising inequality in Singapore and the growing wealth among the richest, the PAP politicians among them.

Basically, PAP has planned to use CPF (and HDB) to control the lives of Singaporeans, how we spend, what we use etc.

Today, “The CPF savings have grown from a mere $9 million at the beginning” to about $260,000 million as of March 2014; with an additional $169,000 committed to housing and $26,000 to investment.

I had calculated that the median CPF balance is $55,000, which means that half of Singaporeans do not even have $55,000 inside our CPF.

Singaporeans Have Only $55,000 In Our CPF! 90% Cannot Even Meet The CPF Minimum Sum!

The reason why Singaporeans cannot save inside our CPF is because “the wage structure in Singapore is highly unequal,“, “70 percent of contributions (have to be) withdrawn (for housing)“, “the real rate of return is low due to implicit tax on CPF wealth… (and there are) high transaction costs due to restricted competition.

In 1987, “The Minimum Sum Scheme was introduced … to help CPF members set aside sufficient savings to support a basic standard of living during retirement,” so the PAP said. The Minimum Sum (MS) was set at $30,000 in 1987.

In 1995, “members were required to set aside a MS of $40,000 …  (which would be increased) by $5,000 a year until it reached $80,000 in 2003.

In 2004, this was raised again “by $4,000 a year, and adjusted for inflation… It will reach $120,000 (today’s dollars) by 2013.

I I had asked the government about how many Singaporeans are actually able to meet the CPF Minimum Sum in only cash and what the CPF median balance is. However, the Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin refused to answer.

Today, 90% of Singaporeans are unable to meet the CPF Minimum Sum.

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Half of Singaporeans have less than 35% of the CPF Minimum Sum inside our CPF.

Singaporeans Only Have 35% of the CPF Minimum Sum in Our CPF

73.5% of Singaporeans do not even have half of the CPF Minimum Sum of $77,500.

Three-Quarters of Singaporeans Have Less Than $77,500 in Our CPF

Yet, Lee Hsien Loong still announced that the CPF Minimum Sum will increase to $161,000 next year (2015). This is preposterous.

But why does PAP keep increasing the CPF Minimum Sum, even though they know that the majority of Singaporeans do not have enough at all inside our CPF to be able to meet the CPF Minimum Sum?

In fact, why did Lee Hsien Loong still increase the CPF Minimum Sun to $155,000. Did he show how much Singaporeans actually have inside the CPF and any plans to help Singaporeans reach the CPF Minimum Sum at all?

CPF Minimum Sum Grows Faster Than the CPF Itself@Facebook

Why does PAP want to lock our CPF up?

The PAP thus used the CPF Minimum Sum scheme to lock-up Singaporeans’ CPF:

  1. 1995: CPF Minimum Sum raised by $5,000 every year until 2003
  2. 1995: Required to set aside cash (of $4,000) to meet CPF Minimum Sum until 50% is reached in 2003
  3. 2003: CPF Minimum Sum raised by an additional $4,000 every year until 2013
  4. 2009: 50% withdrawal rule phased out
  5. 2013: Excess CPF monies can only be withdrawn upon meeting the CPF and Medisave Minimum Sums, and $5,000

PAP said that the CPF Minimum Sum is “adjusted yearly for inflation“. However, the CPF Minimum Sum has been growing by more than 6% every year even though inflation has only grown by 2% annually! Why does PAP want to increase the CPF Minimum Sum by so much to trap our CPF inside?

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There were also two sharp rises in the CPF Minimum Sum in 1995 and 2008.

The sharp rise in 1995 can be attributed to the policy change to raise the CPF Minimum Sum by $5,000 every year.

However, the 2008 rise is mysterious. Some people have speculated that this is due to the $58 billion loss that Temasek Holdings had made from the end of March 2008 to November 2008 and the $59 billion loss the GIC made in Financial Year 2008. Prior to May this year, Singaporeans did not have clear evidence that the CPF was invested in GIC and Temasek Holdings.

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PAP claimed that, “transfer of funds cannot be used to hide investment losses” and that “The issue of whether the investment of the reserves results in gains or losses over time is therefore distinct from the question of whether there is a draw on Past Reserves.” Does this make any sense to you?

However, the total losses than the GIC and Temasek Holdings made in 2008 was a total of $117 billion. And if you look at this as a percentage of the CPF balance of $151 billion in 2008, their losses made up 77.5% of the value of the CPF itself!

Other than trying to lock our money inside the CPF, PAP also tried to prevent us from being able to withdraw our own money.

Linda Low said that, “In 1984 the government tried to increase the CPF withdrawal age from fifty-five to sixty. The attempt was very poorly received, as people viewed the government as having broken a promise.” So, “One way of getting around this problem has been to institute a scheme minimum sum, which softens the impact.

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The retirement age was then raised from 55 to 62 in 1999, right in between the two increments to the CPF Minimum Sum in 1995 and 2003. Today, “the statutory minimum retirement age is still 62, but employers are now required to offer re-employment to eligible employees who turn 62, up to the age of 65“. Also, PAP plans to “extend the re-employment age from 65 to 67.

Paul Yip had said that extending the retirement age is “An alternative and perhaps better policy option … which would imply less, and delay of, CPF withdrawal as well as more and continuing CPF contribution by the affected labour.”

This will reduce withdrawals and lock-in more of Singaporeans’ CPF – but for what and who to use?

Professor Lim Chong Yah had asked if we can “guarantee that … governments would be as honourable and as capable” Can we trust PAP to have our interests at heart?

However, as Yasue Pai puts it, “The lack of transparency in the way the government invests CPF balances and the lack of an overall strategic objective of the CPF puts into question whether the system is really in the best interest of members.

Yip also explained that relaxing the “immigration policy for foreign workers might also reduce the net CPF withdrawal at that time.” He also explained that encouraging “higher birth rate now (to) … mitigate the problem (by increasing CPF contributions later on)” can also help to reduce withdrawals but he said that, “it is not advisable to just rely on this policy… because the decision of having a child involves costs and considerations that will be far much greater than any possible tax incentives provided by the government. As a result, the impact of encouragement policy is likely to be small although effort along this line should be encouraged.

As can be seen, the PAP’s half-hearted attempts in recent years to increase the fertility rate of Singaporeans has also been guided by such thinking.

Singapore TFR

Indeed, the PAP also followed Yip’s approach and relaxed the immigration policy. In fact, if you trace the growth of Singapore’s migrant population, you can see how it also coincided in the early 1980s and 1990s with the periods of housing boom.

There was also a sudden spike in 2004, which can also be traced to two key policies introduced under the premiership of Lee Hsien Loong – the EntrePass scheme to set up business and the Global Investor Programme to become permanent residents for high-net worth individuals. This has also resulted in the dramatic escalation of housing prices.

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The “increases (in) the overall supply of unskilled and semi-skilled labor (have also) depress(ed) the wages of Singaporeans.”

Thus from 2001 to 2011 (before CPF started omitting this information from their annual reports), the number of CPF members who earned $1,000 kept increasing even though Singapore supposedly became more wealthy.

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And from 2004 when the most recent spike in migrant inflow occurred, there was also a spike of the proportion of Singaporeans who were earning less than $1,000. The wages of Singaporeans were depressed and more and more Singaporeans cannot earn enough.

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Yet, Lee Hsien Loong remained unapologetic to the effects of rising cost, wage depression and CPF depletion. He had said, “In fact, if I can get another 10 billionaires to move to Singapore and set up their base here, my Gini coefficient will get worse but I think Singaporeans will be better off, because they will bring in business, bring in opportunities, open new doors and create new jobs, and I think that is the attitude with which we must approach this problem.

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Today, Singapore has the highest concentration of millionaires in the world.

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We also have the 4th largest concentration of billionaires in the world.

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However, Singapore also have the highest poverty rate among the developed countries as well, and even higher than regional developing countries (as you will see later).

Importantly as well, in the PAP’s eagerness to import cheap labour to substitute the local economy, does this thus explain why it has become  more difficult over the years for Singaporeans who have been made redundant from work to gain re-entry back into employment?

Re-entry into employment

Does it also explain why it is taking a long time now for Singaporeans to secure a new job?

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Also, whether Singaporeans are able to accumulate CPF depends on whether we are able to have a job. Thus it becomes problematic that the pension system in Singapore relies solely on the CPF and Singaporeans can otherwise not be able to save. This is worsened by how PAP pays Singaporeans such low wages and creates policies to depress our wages, such that Singaporeans do not have additional cash to save for retirement as well.

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Perhaps now you can understand why PAP has to go out at all costs to prevent the withdrawals of the CPF to sustain their parasitic system, and so you will understand why the PAP government refuses to allow dual citizenship and makes it a path of no return if a Singaporean chooses to renounce his/her citizenship. And also how a permanent resident (PR) “cannot withdraw the CPF monies unless he or she gives up PR status and leaves Singapore and West Malaysia permanently, with no intention of returning for further employment or residence” which is a veiled threat to prompt second thoughts about leaving, and thus allowing the CPF to be entrapped inside for their own uses.

The PAP’s “policies, particularly centring on a reduced tax burden on capital income and reduced mandatory contributions by employers to the CPF, have (also) been partially responsible for the declining share of wages.

In fact, “Singapore’s (growth-at-all-costs) strategy … rests on policies that include keeping the wage share of income below capital’s share at around 42 per cent of national income; relying extensively on foreign workers at both low- and high-skill levels; and giving greater weight to commercial concerns over the provision of social amenities.

Today, Singaporeans earn the lowest wage share among the developed countries, even though Singapore has become the most expensive place to live in, in the world.

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This “growth strategy of creating an environment for the MNCs and the state enterprises to earn high profits has contributed to significant inequalities in the wage structure and income distribution.

Thus it is problematic that PAP claimed last year that income inequality has stabilised and last week that income inequality has actually been reduced.

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But in an article I had written earlier this year, the PAP government has actually been pushing down the income inequality statistics over each reported period, to create the perception that income inequality is not as high as it actually is in Singapore!

Gini Coefficient 2008 vs 2010 vs 2013

On the other hand, the income share among the richest 10% in Singapore has grown from 30% in 1995 to 42% in 2011.

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And as can be seen, the change in income share among the richest 10% also follows the Gini coefficient (or the measure of income inequality), which means that as the income inequality increases, so does the income share of the rich – which brings to question, is income inequality thus artificially pushed higher by paying inequitable salaries at the top to themselves (similarly to how it can also be artificially deflated in the reports?)

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The dramatic increase in the share of income among the richest also coincided with whence PAP decided to increase their own salaries in 1994 by pegging the salaries of the ministers to “two-thirds of the average of the top 24 people in 6 professions”, to earn million-dollar salaries and the highest in the world.

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Today, the richest in Singapore earn one of the highest salaries in the world.

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They also pay one of the lowest taxes in the world.

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However, Singaporeans earn the lowest wages among the highest-income countries.

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Low and middle income Singaporeans also have to pay higher tax and CPF contribution rates than the richest.

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The Prime Minister now belongs to the richest 0.1% in Singapore while the PAP politicians belong to the richest 5%.

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And the rich-poor gap has only kept widening over the past 50 years. This is SG50 for you.

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Asher thus estimated the poverty rate in Singapore to be very high – at between 27% to 35%.

Singapore Poverty Rate Asher 2007

This is in line with the estimates of up to 26% by the Lien Centre for Social Innovation and SMU School of Social Sciences, and my previous estimate of 26% (which could have gone upwards to 28%). In fact, Singapore now has the highest poverty rate among the developed countries and even among regional developing countries.

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In spite of this, the PAP government has refused to define a poverty line, erroneously claiming that this would caused a “cliff effect“.

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Worse still, Professor Tilak Abeysinghe had highlighted that “Singapore’s bottom 30 per cent of households spend more than they earn” where they would “spent 105 per cent to 151 per cent of their income last year and the main cause of rising expenditure was housing.”

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However, this was fervently “disputed” by PAP. Of course they would. If you knew how PAP is jacking up prices and making you pay more from your CPF into their flats, you would become ballistic and wallop them.

But today, you finally know the truth.

Things are not just bad for the poorest 30% in Singapore. A survey by The Straits Times showed that even for the middle-income in Singapore, more than two-thirds of Singaporeans do not even have enough to buy for anything else, other than the basic necessities that they need.

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Essentially, PAP has calculated very incisively how much they need to pay you in wages, how much they can take it back from your CPF, and how much you are left with to just have enough to pay for the basic necessities which they own as well – telecommunications, transport, public utilities etc.

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For the poorest 30%, it is even worse off for them – the PAP created a perpetual handout class, to create a class which would be too scared to lose their “handouts” and can be forced to rely exclusively to protect the PAP’s base.

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But this widening income inequality has major social implications.

Because Singapore has the highest income inequality among the developed countries, the prisoner rate has also become the highest in Singapore, after America.

Inequality vs Prisoners

Because of the high inequality, Singapore also has one of the lowest social mobility among the developed countries – the ‘elites’ are able to protect their positions and it is difficult for lower-income Singaporeans to move up the social ladder.

Inequality vs Social Mobility

Because Singapore has the highest income inequality among the developed countries, this has also resulted in the highest level of self enhancement in Singapore among the developed countries, where people are likely to view themselves as being better than another person, which has led to a more self-centred and inward populace.

Inequality vs Self-Enhancement

And the highest levels of income inequality in Singapore has also resulted in the lowest levels of trust in Singapore, after Portugal.

The Equality Trust Income Equality vs Trust

And because of the low levels of trust, Singaporeans have become the second least likely people in the world to help a stranger.

photo 1 (31)

Thus without a doubt, PAP’s growth-at-all-costs strategy which relies on the manipulation of CPF contribution rates to reduce wages and a further wage depression via competition with lowly-paid foreign workers is a recipe for disaster. This, coupled with the government’s upward cost pressures fuelled by their own Government-Linked Companies has created an unsustainable income inequality, which is threatening to tear up the social fabric of Singapore.

However, the PAP government remains blissfully ignorant to this plight and continues to bury their head in the sand, to manipulate income inequality figures, instead of actually enacting policies such as minimum wages, to reduce the income inequality.

Such a government with an attitude of denial towards the problems that Singapore currently faces is disasterous for the longevity of Singapore.

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56 comments

  1. 他要挤干新加坡人民的最后一滴血

    Let‘s look at Lee Kuan Yew and his son Lee Hsien Loong ‘s greedy: greedy, insatiable. Not only this father & son greed for wealth , but also the greed for power and position, greed for the national property , summarized their “greedy” word, “wealth and seawater are very similar, they drink more will be more thirsty.”, The more and more insatiable greed.

    They excessive greed is destroying Singapore. Once they stop being greedy, Their identity become an vicious Mr.Sue. Their excessive greed has embarked on the road of the lawless, can be seen from their rope in over their behavior.

    1. Excessive greed for power and position, tend to make their own mind to be benumb . just like Shakespeare’s writing characters Lady Macbeth , into the abyss of self-destruction.

    2. Excessive greed for money, some people put “human alive for wealth, birds for food” is also applied to the career prospects. in this worldly possessions greedy for money, and ultimately they can not be stopped .

    In fact, in the limited of human life, consumable wealth is limited, Prime Minister’s wealth’s accumulation had reached a peak of the maximum , while just a game of numbers . much his wealth to the extent of his’s ability can not control, It is destroying the value of other existences。

    This time he sued the young guy’s action, as evidenced by the above demonstration. Their greed caused an heavy burden today towards Singapore nationals.

    Calls for a new, birth from an ordinary family’s new Prime Minister, leading Singapore, to achieve the last 50 years’s dream and aspirations for the people of Singapore.

    我们来看一看李光耀与李显龙父子的贪心:贪得无厌,永不知足。不仅父子俩对财富的贪得无厌,而且对权力地位的贪婪成性, 对国家财物的贪图成性,把这些“贪”概括一句话,“财富和海水非常类似,越喝喉咙就会越干燥。”, 越贪越不知足。

    他们贪心过度正在毁灭新加坡。一旦他们贪心受了阻止,他们的身份立刻变成恶性Mr.Sue 控告先生。他们过度的贪心已经走上违法的道路, 从他们表面拉拢的行为可见一斑。

    1.对权力地位的过度贪心, 往往使他们自己权令智昏,就像莎翁笔下的麦克白夫人一样,走入自我毁灭的深渊。

    2.对钱财的过度贪欲, 有些人把“人为财死,鸟为食亡”也应用于事业的前途中, 对钱财这种身外之物贪得无厌,最终到无法停止的地步。

    其实,在人的有限生命里,可消费的财富是有限的,一个人的财富累积达到只是的数字游戏的时候。财富多到一个人的能力无法驾驭的程度,它就剩下摧毁他人生存的价值了。

    这一次他们对年轻人的控告行动, 就证明了以上论证。
    他们的贪造成了今日新加坡国民的沉重负担。
    呼吁一个新的, 出生普通人家的新总理,将带领新加坡人,实现新加坡人民50年来梦寐以求的愿望 。

  2. David

    Thank you. Your article is rock solid! I didn’t know the situation in Singapore is so bad. But after reading your comprehensive article, I realize it is time for me to come back Singapore to perform my national duty to vote out the PAP during the next election. I cannot let my fellow citizens and comrades suffer in silence under the oppressive regime. They have to treat fellow citizens with dignity by letting them have well paying jobs and sufficient retirement fund. Even the cleaners here in Australia are treated with respect and dignity with dignified salary. Who the hel does the princeling think he is to dictate that we have so much unskilled and semi-skilled immigrants and professionals flooding the island?

    • Jim

      Things are not just bad for the poorest 30% in Singapore. A survey by The Straits Times showed that even for the middle-income in Singapore, more than two-thirds of Singaporeans do not even have enough to buy for anything else, other than the basic necessities that they need.
      CHECK WITH THE SURVEY – AMONG ITEMS MENTIONED THAT THEY HAVE NOT ENOUGH MONEY TO BUY – CAR. – SINCE WHEN A CAR IS BASIC NECESSITY?

      SINGAPORE HAS A HIGHER POVERTY LEVEL THAN INDONESIA? HOW MANY SINGAPORE MAIDS IN INDONESIA, ROY

      • The Oracle

        You hit the nail on the head there Jim – Roy is always exaggerating and he is very selective with the truth. I’m not saying there isn’t a problem and that we can’t do more but Roy ignores anything positive the government is doing as he has his own agenda.

        For example, government transfers to probably our neediest citizens (retirees in 1 and 2 room HDB flats) increased to $11,300 in 2013 from $9,300 in 2012. At the same time, the median household income in Singapore rose to $7870 per month – but Roy would still have us believe 65% of Singaporeans are poor. We’re all poor compared to Bill Gates if Roy wants a new statistic – 100% of Singaporeans are poor in that case! The actual data is here:
        http://www.singstat.gov.sg/publications/publications_and_papers/household_income_and_expenditure/pp-s20.pdf

        He also ignores facts such as taxes on the rich have increased indirectly through the recently introduced higher property taxes on bigger properties and the much higher taxes on luxury cars.

        Nobody can accuse Roy of letting facts get in the way of a good story.

      • simon

        @JIM While you are at it, why not compare Singapore with Sierra Leone or Somali? Like what Oralce said, nobody can accuse you of letting facts get in the way of a good story.

      • reply Jim & The Oracle,

        1)
        if your PAP said you are in the First world life, so you don’t compare the third World Indonesia, you must compare with the other first world.

        2)
        The Oracle, everytime you like to give a figure to describe a future Singapore, that fact, we are talking about our life today, not for the future , it is a dream
        your made the figure is based on your life, PAP’s life
        not the reality for your ordinary family,
        last time , you assumed , basic salary 3000 SGD per working class ?
        it is great liar , 3000 SGD maybe will be my next and next generations, not for our 40 years old people .

        3000 SGD, is many Singaporeans dream , but it never happened !

        that why people hate PAP !

      • The Oracle

        $3,250 is the actual median monthly salary in Singapore today – meaning 50% earn more than this and 50% earn less. I am not making it up and I’ve given the up-to-date source of that data. Likewise, $7,870 is the median household income in Singapore as a typical household in Singapore has slightly more than 2 working people and some non-work income.

        I deal in facts and I also recognise more can and should be done for the most vulnerable in our society – but Roy distorts facts to suit his purposes.

  3. 他要挤干新加坡人民的最后一滴血

    公务员队伍, 也不是一个工程队伍, 根本没有赚钱的来源嘛, 他们的巨额收入从哪里来 ? 动不动就是他们几个人你拿10万,我拿15万,他拿8万,他们 私分了我们公积金的红利, 并且要永远分下去,这就是到期不还我们公积金的原因。

    小偷不会承认钱是偷来的,一样的方程式,他们说他们几个是精英。这样即使动作上是贪污犯也不用去坐牢。

    Civil service, is not a project team, not profit maker , then, where is their huge income from ? Several them at every turn that they want the huge demand, such as you take 100,000, I take 150 000, he take 80,000,They embezzle fund from our CPF’s dividend , plan to get the dividends forever, That was the reason the overdue our CPF

    The thief will not admit the money is stolen, the same equation, they say they a few are the elite . Thus, even if the action is corruption group , still no guilty, no jail, no no being whipped whip.

  4. THE SIXTEN

    Identify these original documents with a great significance, join each CPF owner together sign the signature, ask for recovery of the Singapore government & Prime Minister Lee to pay compensation through the international court, due to each critical time in the past, Singapore Courts did not show the justice, thus this type appeal to international judicial assistance is by very special .

    One is called for a comprehensive sanctions by the United Nations, frozen their wealth ( included their children’s ) in the United States.

  5. THE SIXTEN

    in my view that it is cheating, CPF as all rights of Singaporeans has been plundered by LKY and LHL that father and son, people criticized the government of Singapore for many mistakes, it is the policy enforced by his family, and it reflect their lack of ethics and honesty, now has his own appear contradictory with the original paper

      • reply Jim

        but Indonesia’s leader did not show off they are the first World class, and your PAP did.
        Indonesia’s leader did not have huge income like Prime Minister , the same they both are the government servant, but Singapore prime lee is too greedy , income ranking No. top peak in the World, Lee considered that Singapore is his factory ?

        Indonesia’s leader never be father and son by turn to occupy the power and the wealth for totally 50 years .
        so, if prime minister still do not change his demand for greedy , his job is finished soon,

        shit ! shit,shit,
        shame, shame, shame !

  6. 这个独裁者死掉才是对人类的最大贡献.

    近日新加坡某门户网站刊登了一篇题为《Singapore””””s Lee says he wants a quick death》(李光耀说他想速死)的新闻报道。报道引来众多网友吐槽,相关回复多达1000余条,考虑到新加坡的人口,这个回复率已经很高了。事情的起因是九十高龄的新加坡前总理李光耀推出了一本新书,书中提到自己期待速死,并且继续为他的移民、生育、选举政策辩护。不过,大部分新加坡网民并不认同这些存在争议的观点。

    在众多评论中,支持率最高一则来自网友Uncle Sim(沈大叔)。他的评论相当简短,却有435人支持,33人反对。他用英文写到,所有新加坡老人和李光耀一样,都因高龄和病痛而痛不欲生,但其中许多人还在为了每个月$800而洗厕所。这条回复支持率高的原因是新加坡常把洗厕所和收盘子的工作交给老人,虽然政府认为这是一种“福利政策”,但一直以来都存在着比较大的争议。这则评论引来36条回复,大多表示同意。

    在所有评论中,回复率最高的一则来自网友Kumar。他的评论更加简短,却引来了56条回复。他说“Pls remember lky didn””””t build the nation. the people did”(请记住建设国家的人不是李光耀而是人民)。Kumar的评论有219人支持,超过半数的网友对李光耀推行的政策表示失望。
    他們說,这个独裁者,只有死掉才是对人类的最大贡献.
    http://3g.kdnet.net/?boardid=1&id=9819285&t=topic-show

  7. an evil cannibalistic society

    Singaporean workers are being exploited. Singapore is the only first world country without any forms of social security, without establish any protection of trade union for workers.

    Our public housing system is came from farmers.

    After PAP government took all our land, the sold to the highest bidder. It jacks up property prices crazily , increase the burden for generations, such that our fertility rate & the marriage rate both the lowest in the whole world. Our property prices are one of the highest in the world now.

    Lee Kuan Yew’s greed knows no bounds. Despite of all these social ills, he has continued till this day further pushing up our property prices and reducing our birthrate.

    why Lee Kuan Yew succeeded in Singapore not because he is smart but more because Singaporeans, the majority of whom are Chinese, are abused & tolerate his greedy.

    There is nothing whatsoever good about a wealthy state that won’t even provide national health care or Social Security for its people. And as the commenter points out, the state housing was created in a very sleazy way, by stealing the land of the rivals of Lee’s party. In addition, the lands of subsistence farmers were also confiscated.

    Singapore every day to work. It’s based on exploitation of the poor.

    Presently the housing prices are so insanely high that most Singaporeans cannot even afford a home. This results in children living at home far into their 20’s and 30’s and not marrying and starting families. Because housing and the cost of living is so expensive, most of the young have decided that it makes no sense at all to have kids.

    This is Lee Kuan Yew had created — an evil cannibalistic society — Singapore

  8. Chua

    Nice analysis on housing and CPF. Great that you pinpointing fallacies of implemented policies instead of criticising individuals. Much as i like to believe there is no malicious intent on the policy makers and government, the impact of their decisions has indeed led many Singaporeans to a tough livelihood. There are bitter pills to swallow. I hope improving CPF returns, extending retirement age and lowering housing cost (by reducing land cost within their control) could be implemented.
    It is ironically good that they set a high minimum sum as then they would have policies and targets to ensure more people can reach them as part of their kpi. The amount in current cost of living is reasonable. The problem is the combination of low wage, low cpf return vs inflation and high housing cost makes current target a challenge.
    Keep going at commenting on policies instead of personal attacks. 🙂

      • reply to Jim

        Jim 女士,你的PAP为什么不可以攻击,如果他变成了一群吸血鬼。
        这种贪心的王八蛋总理, 如果发生在亚洲的泰国,中国, 早就被推翻下台了,哪里给你们父子50年时间, 如果发生在罗马尼亚,伊拉克,早就被枪毙啦,如果不是明枪, 也是被你们逼得暗枪登场,为民除害的勇士大有人在。

        如果发生西方国家,早就父子俩人加上总理的老婆早就被管入牢房啦。人民向参观动物园一样, 会去看望他们三位老人家。

        你的 “waiting for a lawsuit. Resort to attack on PAP government. ?”

        PAP已经引起民愤极大, 声讨声一浪盖过一浪, 在这样的情况下,你的 lawsuit 的结果正朝着协助他们走向以上3条路线的任何一方靠近。

  9. Alan

    Never see a bunch of goondu who practically shallow every piece of dung that Prata shit out from his ass and still take it like gold!

    Just use your brain a bit! If the Pap don’t want you to know, do you think the self proclaim CPF expert can just google it out and keep repeating in front of you?

    My goodness, just how gullible group of idiots you are!

  10. Aaron Singaporean

    I am grateful for all that has transpired. Now all we need to do is to stand in solidarity – uniformed, civil and families – all CPF accounts to be reimbursed with shared profits derived from land hoarding and new policies in place to ensure flexible access to these monies without further mundane fear excuses of people recklessly throwing their savings away on women from neighbouring countries – not every family has men like yours.

  11. looley

    @Jim, you mean the PAP OR ‘THE GOVERNMENT’? OR LHL, and/or PAP & LHL…for PAP did not sue Roy neither ‘The Government’ and PAP is NOT the Government…guess your education need no further exploration let alone the usage of language grammar …
    Whatever is written here is the luxury of Roy and the very fact that you are allowed to scorn, spew and comment stupid as it might such, Roy is already in practice of Democracy more than any other in Singapore…so, go on to rant, YES indeed it is you who is ranting and perhaps you really have nothing better to do and PERHAPS you do not have an account in CPF let alone any money at all…and to…
    @Alan, you are really free to leave this space, your right of comment if any is at the kind giving of Roy, if you are not that happy, get out and perhaps YOU CAN COPY, PASTE AND SEND IT TO LHL? after all, whatever said here, THE REAL HERO OF SPEECH IN ANY GIVEN ANGLE IS ROY, THE BRAVE, THE GUTSY AND YES, GUNGHO and who ARE YOU, scum dogs i guess, OR WE to comment let alone he is gonna “pay the price” right? TO CALL ALL YOU GUYS COWARD IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT and while Roy may be giving information herein that YOU ALL feel is load of bulls and shits, well well, GUESS YOU MUST HAVE ALL BEEN EATING SHIT for a long period of your living life day in and day out, SINGAPORE, for everyday guess what, these SHITS are slapped at your face!

  12. Singaporean

    the fake history.. goverment take 100% of money from people.. what bullcrap.. please donate more money to Roy so that he does not need to work.. and write fictional stories.. oh yea!

  13. seesiwpeng

    wow, as expected BUT in reality, i did not know that scum dogs bastardize are here to bark, let alone to suck bananas of their masters…of lest i forget, including digging as well, AND is getting very interesting that the Line Leader is resorting to letting go these lowly creatures besides their dogs, now their pussy cats just trying to meowing around with no substance…ROY, DO NOT WORRY, WE STAND BY YOU AND FOR YOU AND YES, WE SHALL DONATE OUR TIME, RESOURCE AND MONEY, so what if we are asked each to donate just a $1 and for all you know, we shall each donate $10 each…AND YES, WE WANT ROY TO CONTINUE WRITING THESE INFORMATION AND RESEARCH, at least Roy have a good meal…a proper family with dignity and pride, FOR ALL YOU SCUMBAG DOGS OUT THERE LICKING YOUR MASTERS’ and pussy cats meowing to be laid openly by these dogs and also trying to be licked, guess what you are at best eating the crumbs from what is thrown to you by the leaders and as for the pussy cats, yea yea…open babe to be digged…fool no one, your fore generation, and generations to come ain’t nothing but prostitutes….

    • Alan

      Seesiwpeng

      Wow! Haven’t seen someone as pro as u in licking Prata butt n sing praise like he give birth to u!

      This is a very example of your commitment to Roy! Keep it up!

      Sexy Spider is going to need more!

  14. LeeXianleong

    When the dictator’s stench filled the air, people even don’t know Singapore have joined the support team, This greedy bastard Prime Minister, when it occurs in Asia, Thailand, China, has long been overthrown step down, never 50 years given to test , if occurred in Romania, Iraq, they have to be shot .If occurred in western countries the Premier’s wife and his father together 3 of them send into the jail for the rest of life.
    Bully Singaporeaas is rebelling against God !

  15. 地球上最坏的华人是李光耀和李显龙父子,

    如果罵PAP,不如罵李光耀和李显龙父子。他們兩個就是PAP

    地球上最坏的华人是李光耀和李显龙父子,
    他們父子自己拿天价财富, 反過來要人民省吃儉用,50年後建議人民把家裡一個房間租給外人,他們有很多方法不停地拿來折磨人民, 使得新加坡人終身逃不出苦海。

    李光耀和李显龙父子將被世界最壞父子排行榜收藏為第一世界裡面的最壞父子, 最會虐待人民的黑名單。
    如果有一天, 他们或他们的孙子死于意外, 实现了全世界一切主张正义力量的为民除害的愿望, 绝不允许再继续伤害祖祖辈辈都极为善良的新加坡人 !

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    • The Oracle

      No it’s not true. You will get it back via an income for the rest of your life plus the PAP government you obviously hate just announced a partial withdrawal will be allowed in future. Don’t believe everything Roy tells you!

      • to The Oracle

        are you the Spokesman for the country ? why you claim you are not PAP, then PAP handed over the national issues to you ?

      • Why do you want to withdraw your $80k in 1 go?

        The $80k in your OA will be returned to you over the years so that you have some money every year. Can you tell us why you want to withdraw all at 1 go? We want to know because if you spend it all then other Singaporean will have to support you through our taxes.

        If your HDB has been paid in full you can sell your HDB and move in with your children. Look at how much you can sell your HDB for and how much you paid for your HDB.

  17. reply "The Oracle"

    Mr. The Oracle,
    your life depends on our money , why you don’t borrow from bank ? use ” taking care ” name, stolen our welfare . you owed us too much , now we want CPF back fully, no half, no 20%, no more trap again , we don’t want to join your any plan , your plan your PAP take it, but we don’t accept it .no compulsory occupy, you offend our rights by game goes you single side . in other words, it is finance murder !

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  25. teoenming

    Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong Want Teo En Ming Dead

    Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong want Teo En Ming dead. Lee Kuan Yew and Lee Hsien Loong want Teo En Ming to die young. I am only 36 years old. I do not want to die young. I want to live to a hundred years old and beyond!!! I want to live to a hundred years old and beyond!!! I want to live to a hundred years old and beyond!!! I want to live to a hundred years old and beyond!!! I want to live to a hundred years old and beyond!!!

    In fact, I want to live forever!!!
    In fact, I want to live forever!!!
    In fact, I want to live forever!!!
    In fact, I want to live forever!!!
    In fact, I want to live forever!!!

    Teo En Ming has filed an official complaint against the Singapore Government at the United Nations Human Rights Council Branch and the International Criminal Court. Read the letter here:

    ***********************************************************************************
    ***********************************************************************************
    ***********************************************************************************
    ***********************************************************************************
    ***********************************************************************************
    ***********************************************************************************

    Teo En Ming’s Open Letter (Plea for Medical Help/Assistance) to World Leaders dated 27 Aug 2010. Read the letter here:

    http://lists.mcs.anl.gov/pipermail/mpich-discuss/2010-August/007811.html

    Mr. Teo En Ming (Zhang Enming)
    Singapore Citizen
    Republic of Singapore
    14 Jan 2015

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  31. I still don't see whats wrong with CPF

    It seems that:
    money go CPF, CPF build house, young people buy house at higher price, CPF earn money and give as interest to old poeple, young people money go CPF again.
    This seems logical to me and guaranteed the returns from CPF.

    If people has no money in old age, Singaporeans will have to support them. The CPF minimum sum ensures that the money will not be all spent in 1 go so the old will have some money. The minimum sum is determined by the rising live span of Singaporeans and the world’s economic outlook. If a person can not meet their minimum sum, do you think it is a good idea for that person to withdraw all their CPF in 1 go? What are they going to do with their CPF withdrawn in 1 go? Are they going to brave the risk of investing the money at their age of 60+? If they are going to spend it slowly and equally over the years then its the same way CPF is doing so there is no problem here.

    Housing prices are rising but there are 3 types of flats: BTO flats and resale flats and private flats. BTO flats are much lower price then resale and private. Housing price keep rising just like everything else in the world. A BTO flat used to cost $8000, does anyone think its realistic for anyone to sell a flat for $8000 now? Part of the money earned from BTO flats also goes back into CPF fund so that the government can pay the CPF interest rates. In another words, it is using the money from young people when they buy a BTO to give to the poor and this cycle keeps going. If BTO price doesn’t rise, we will not receive interest rates in our CPF.

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