What PAP Has Done to Your CPF and Doesn’t Want Singaporeans to Know (The Real History) (Part 2)
In 1984, PAP introduced Medisave as “a national medical savings scheme, (where) … individuals (have to) aside part of their income into their Medisave Accounts to meet their future personal or immediate family’s hospitalization, day surgery and certain outpatient expenses.“
Mr Toh Chin Chye criticised the Medisave. He said that, “No firm can afford to have two parallel medical welfare schemes.”
He also said that:
(Medisave) is a taxation, and it is a recessive tax for the simple reason that those who are at the lower income level, because their CPF contributions are lower, will have to pay the full amount, whereas those with higher incomes do not pay the full percentage of their income towards the CPF because there is a ceiling. It is recessive. I feel that all this is a very short-sighted myopic view.
Has the Minister for Health, who was in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, who was in cahoots with the Minister for Finance, taken the trouble to investigate how he is going to get the money to run his Ministry? The first responsibility of the Minister for Health is to ensure the availability of health care services. That is his first responsibility, that he must go round and nag at the Minister for Finance for the money. But he is taking on the job of the Minister for Finance. I totally disagree with the approach of Medisave.
Sir, looking at the National Health Plan itself and the emphasis on financial considerations, I have the nasty feeling that the Ministry of Finance had quite a hand in it. What has happened to the Government’s social responsibility? I believe, Sir, that somewhere along the line we have to strike the proper balance between what is the Government’s social responsibility in so far as health care is concerned and the cost of providing it. But this is my main criticism of the scheme, because it fails to realize that certain illnesses do occur through no fault of the individual no matter how much effort you put in to stay fit and to prevent illnesses.
Sir, nobody knows when his kidneys or his heart will fail him. Nobody knows when cancer will strike. Medical treatment for chronic diseases is in many instances, in fact, in almost all instances, life-long and can be a heavy burden on the individual and his family. Medisave is therefore inadequate in meeting such needs. The consequences, Sir, can be far-reaching. If individuals cannot use their Medisave account to cover either wholly or partially such expenses, they may delay seeking hospitalization till their health deteriorates or, worse still, they might resort to self-medication.
Finally, people may find Medisave a wholly unattractive proposition because there might not be the incentive to put money into the Medisave account if they find that their savings cannot be used when it really matters.
Indeed, today, we know of Singaporeans who have had to choose to die instead of seek medical treatment.
Today, Medisave has collected $66 billion but in 2012, only $768 million was withdrawn for direct expenses, or only 1.3% of the total Medisave balance.
And when you look at the $722 million withdrawn from Medisave in 2011, as compared to the total health expenditure of $13.1 billion in 2011, Medisave would account for only 5.5% of total health expendfiture!
Now, if withdrawals from Medisave grew by just 7 times to $5.1 billion in 2011, this would help Singaporeans pay for 38.5% of total health expenditure using Medisave, and together with current health subsidies, cover for 70% of total health expenditure, or the average expenditure that governments in other developed countries would spend on health.
Increasing the Medisave withdrawals by 7 times would mean Singaporeans would still be only spending 9.1% of the total Medisave balance in 2011! There would still be more than 90% inside the balance for whatever uses PAP wants to take our Medisave to use for!
Then why does PAP only let Singaporeans take out a miserable 1.3% from Medisave and have to spend more than 60% out of our own pockets for healthcare?
Leong Sze Hian also estimated that in 2013, Singaporeans would have paid about $8 billion into Medisave, and including for the interest earned on Medisave, this would add up to a total inflow of $10.8 billion into the Medisave.
Leong also calculated that when you look at the total government expenditure of health of $7.1 billion, and even including for expenses for Medisave withdrawals ($1.56 billion), MediShield premiums ($817.6 million), Medifund payouts ($102 million) and the first-year costs for the Pioneer Generation Package ($260 million), this would only add up to $9.76 billion, or lesser than the $10.8 billion that Singaporeans would have paid into and earned in the Medisave!
This means that Singaporeans are paying more than enough to Medisave every year to cover for all of the government’s health expenses. If so, why are Singaporeans still paying tax and where have the health subsidies gone?
Indeed, prior to the introduction of Medisave in 1984, the government would subsidise for 50% of total health expenditure. But two years after Medisave was introduced, PAP suddenly pushed down subsidies to 30% and made Singaporeans pay more by ourselves, from our Medisave.
Thus today, at 30%, PAP spends the lowest health expenditure among the other developed countries and also one of the lowest in the world.
In 1990, MediShield was introduced, which the government says is “to help members meet large Class B2/C hospitalisation bills, which could not be sufficiently covered by their Medisave balances.”
It would appear that MediShield’s first responsibility is not to the insured person, but to MediShield itself, to ensure that it will not involve the Government in any extra financial expenditure… It operates just like private commercial insurance companies. It operates with the object of sure profit and no loss. Yet, it provides less benefits than private commercial hospital and surgical schemes.
But Government MediShield does not have to operate like a commercial business undertaking. Government has a responsibility to look after the aged and the sick. Therefore, it should ensure that MediShield is a truly low cost medical insurance for the aged, that it truly accepts full responsibility in the care and treatment of those stricken with serious illnesses.
In June this year, the Worker’s Party Gerald Giam revealed that “Between 2001 and 2013, based on CPF Board Annual Reports, MediShield collected $3.704 billion in premiums but paid out $2.190 billion in claims — a difference of $1.514 billion.” He said, “I leave it to Singaporeans to assess whether or not they consider $1.5 billion to be “a lot more” in premiums than pay-outs.”
What this means is that of the MediShield premiums collected since 2001, the government only paid out 59% and keeps the rest as profit.
Gerald Giam had also detailed how the MediShield Fund has a capital adequacy ratio (CAR) of “165% at the end of 2012“. He said that this is 45% higher than the MAS’s requirements, which is only 120%. He pointed out that the government “has set a target CAR of 200% (for the MediShield Fund), which (would be) 80% higher than MAS requirements” and asked if this is necessary, since “At the end of 2013, the MediShield Fund had net assets of $613.3 million dollars, which is more than 1.8 times the total claims paid last year.”
When PAP wanted to defer the CPF withdrawal age from 55 to 60 in 1984, Mr Toh Chin Chye again quickly saw through the government’s poly and quickly derided them:
The reason for all this uneasiness on the problems of the aged is related to the CPF. The problems of the aged have been forgotten because you are touching people’s savings.
This problem of touching the CPF should be related to the use of the CPF, the management of the CPF and the contribution of CPF. I have repeated, time and again, that the CPF, having risen now to 50% of wages, is becoming a vexatious burden, not only to the employee but also to the employer.
The Minister for Finance is extremely concerned with the amount of money being locked into CPF, reducing the liquidity in commercial banks. I think that is a very genuine concern which, as the Minister for Finance, he ought to be very worried out. He should not allow his Minister for Health to dip into the CPF or to increase the CPF, because this is a social problem that is popping up. It must be thought out in breadth. We must have a vision which encompasses breadth. Do not have tunnel vision. I would like to know that we have got telescopic vision. But, Mr Speaker, I have never had the problem of tunnel vision, and that is, looking at a problem along just one line without bothering, or researching in depth, the impact on other areas.
Mr Speaker, I think fundamental principles are being breached. The fundamental principle is this. The CPF is really a fixed deposit or a loan to Government, which can be redeemed at a fixed date when the contributor is 55 years old. If I were to put this sum of money in a commercial bank and, on the due date I go to the bank to withdraw the money, the manager says, “I am sorry, Dr Toh, you will have to come next year”, there will be a run on the bank! It is as simple as this, that the CPF has lost its credibility, the management of it. This is fundamental. You were taken by surprise by Medisave. Then they say, “6% of your Special Account will be kept for Medisave and you cannot withdraw that, even if you were to die.”
According to The Straits Times, “Members applauded loudly at the end of Dr Toh’s 25-minute impassioned speech.“
I regret never been able to speak to Mr Toh Chin Chye.
Today, the CPF has accumulated $260 billion from Singaporeans. But last year, Singaporeans were able to only use 5.9% of this.
Finally, in 1989, the CPF Education Scheme for students to “help lower income families support themselves or their children through full-time studies in approved educational institutions in Singapore“.
主席先生，大学生补习费再一次调高了。这次调高补习费完全不是因为成本的增加。因为过去两年的开支只是增加了20%….。在1987年教育部长在国会里宣布调高补习费时，他说，他不希望在看到另一次大规模的调高补习费。但是，就在他说这些话的两年期间，大学的补习费调高了30%到80%之间。这次调高的比例是117% 到4545%之间。这是数据是Dr Aline Wong提供的。一部分学生受到了接连两次的调高补习费的打击。
Mr Chairman, Sir, once again tuition fees for university students have increased. This increase is not entirely due to the increase in costs but because over the last two years the increase in expenditure has been only about 20%… In 1987, the Minister for Education in announcing a hike in tuition fees in the House said that he would not like to see another major increase in tuition fees. But no sooner had he said this that in the course of a short two years, there is another increase in fees by 30% to 85%. This is in comparison to the fees in 1987. If it is compared with the figures in 1986, the increase rates are 117 to 454%, according to the figures given by Dr Aline Wong. Some students were hit twice by such fee-hikes.
Indeed, today, Singaporeans pay one of the highest university tuition fees in the world.
The government would spend at least $354 million on scholarships for international students, the universities have at least $451 million in surplus last year, yet Singaporeans have to pay about $400 million out of our own pockets to pay for the fees.
In the meantime, the government would give scholarships to 52% of international students but only 6% of Singaporean students.
And not only in the universities, PAP has also accumulated surpluses in the other statutory boards, but Krause asked, A number of the large statutory boards are virtual monopolies in Singapore, and others are large enough relative to the market to influence prices. The fact that surpluses are accumulated implies that prices are above average cost… (So), Instead of aiming at maximizing profits like any other company, (Krause said that) the statutory boards could adopt pricing policies such that they break even, thereby lowering costs.“
In 1968, a legislation was passed for the CPF to be invested in government bonds or “Singapore government securities (SGS) or Advance Deposits (which) … in effect lends members’ savings to the Government, which (note) in turn, makes the actual investment decisions.”
Ng shared an anecdotal experience that when “A bank officer, asked about the possibility of investments in SGS with CPF savings, expressed surprise. He did not see why anyone would consider investing in SGS given their low yields. He explained that the SGS market is illiquid and specific issues may have to be specially sourced. In his own words, “we get an enquiry from an individual about investing in SGS only once in a blue moon.”
Thus our CPF is invested in an instrument which no one would want to buy. So, why did PAP put our CPF there?
But where does the CPF go thereafter?
“The Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) (which) was incorporated on 22 May 1981, with an authorised capital of S$2 million.” Linda Low also revealed that the GIC was set up with “S$345 million in thirty-six companies“. If so, which companies were these and were they set up with the development funds funded by our CPF? Were they returned?
Over the past decade, PAP has refused to let Singaporeans know that the CPF is actually invested in the GIC.
However, back in 1986, the CPF Study Group led by Professor Lim Chong Yah had already revealed that, “Funds raised through the issuance of government bonds are joined with government reserves and the funds entrusted by other government bodies to MAS, and later the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation, for management.“
Linda Low also wrote that “since the late 1970s, CPF’s reserves as part of public sector surplus have been co-mingled with other investment either domestically by Temasek Holdings Ltd or abroad by the Government Investment Corporation of Singapore (GIC).“
However, the channelling of CPF into GIC is problematic because GIC’s “legal status is that of a private limited company – removing it from parliamentary or public scrutiny. This arrangement has not provided members with high enough real returns to capture the power of compound interest.” So, “While CPF members know their account balances, they do not know the basis or performance of investment decisions and there is no correspondence between investment returns and member returns.”
Asher and Singh也说，‘为了增加GIC在公积金投资的盈余，然后再支付给公积金会员，在公积金的大量盈余账上是一个隐藏性的税收。这是一个双重的周期性、高度后退行的和经常是巨额的数额．．．对于低收入的会员而言，公积金的盈余结存是他们的最大非住房产业的财富。’
Asher and Singh also explained that, “To the extent GIC earns higher returns on CPF balances than credited to members, there is an implicit tax on CPF wealth which is both recurrent, highly regressive, and often quite large, … as low- income members are likely to have most of their non- housing wealth in the form of the CPF balances.“
Asher admonished the PAP government’s practice by saying that, “Singapore’s method of investing the balances meant for retirement financing is contrary to best international practices concerning pension fund management, and have the potential to generate high political risk. Such concentration of savings in the hands of non-transparent, non-accountable agencies also distorts the savings investment process and could lead to inefficiencies in the structure of asset returns.“
Linda Low also explained that, “Co-mingled CPF and Monetary Authority of Singapore funds invested by the Government Investment Corporation of Singapore can neither be good investment nor management strategy as returns and performance cannot be effectively tracked and institutional and agency investment policy objectives dictated de facto by government…. On the other side of the balance, the centralised system suffers from low rates of returns not so much due to poor investments as implicit taxation of returns, with as much as a 3 per cent differential as alluded. Mandatory investments means social security funds are held hostage to budgetary needs and politically determined investment decisions.“
In June this year, Temasek Holdings also denied that they manage our CPF monies.
But as explained, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam had said that, “about $400 million dollars worth of assets in the form of a set of companies” and as shown, these companies were funded by Singaporeans’ CPF monies and which were later transferred to Temasek Holdings when privatised, which in effect means that Temasek Holdings did manage CPF funds!
In 1982, Minister for Labour and Communications had explained that, “CPF savings form a large portion of Singapore’s savings. These savings are used for capital formation which means the construction of new factories, installation of new plant and equipment, expansion of infrastructure such as roads,’ ports and telecommunications, the building of houses and so on. These facilities coupled with Singapore’s economic and political stability have in turn attracted large amounts of investments each year. These again go into the setting up of more businesses, factories and enterprises.“
When “Singapore began privatizing its state corporations by late 1980s, … Temasek Holdings Ltd, the investment arm of Singapore’s government now has share ownership in most partially divested companies termed as Government-Linked Companies or GLCs, such as SingTel, DBS, Singapore Technologies, etc.“
Thus it is sufficiently clear that Temasek took Singaporeans’ CPF to use. Is the CPF returned?
Listing Government companies on the Stock Exchange is not privatization. Privatization means washing its hands off business and ceasing to compete with the private sector. Listing a Government company on the Stock Exchange is certainly a clever idea of raising funds from the public to finance the operations of Government companies which otherwise would be in receipt either of subsidies or loans from the Government. But that is not privatization as most people believe it to be.
The Government already plays a regulatory role in the operations of the Stock Exchange. But should it also lend itself to fears that with so many Government counters listed, it would also play in the market? This is not a rhetoric question. In 1984, there was the affair between Keppel, a Government company, and Jardine Fleming. The Government on that occasion bailed out Keppel and applied its clout on Jardine Fleming.
Unlike private companies, Government companies have access to authorities, either direct access or through the old boy network when other private companies do not… The Government has intervened in the market through releasing CPF funds for purchases of trustee stocks which include, of course, Government companies’ stocks… Partial listing of Government companies on the Stock Exchange is not privatization. I would rather have them sold off altogether or keep them as private companies.
Did PAP apply the same pressure again on Singaporeans’ POSB to ask POSB to bail out DBS in 1998?
Phang explained that Singapore’s “economy (is) dominated by multinational enterprises and State-controlled firms (which) have traditionally enjoyed significant control over resources (for example about 85 percent of Singapore’s land area is owned by the State and there is no constitutional or common law right to land ownership) and significant monopoly power.“
It might thus not be a coincidence that Singapore is thus ranked 5th on The Economist’s crony capitalism index, where it is the 5th easiest place in the world “where politically connected businessmen are most likely to prosper”.
And it is perhaps not accidental that this has resulted in Singapore becoming the most expensive place to live in, in the world, through the PAP government’s unilateral driving up of the prices and the depression of wages.
Importantly, Temasek Holdings might want to deny that they do not take our CPF to invest. However, “In April 2004, a constitutional amendment … allowed the government to transfer reserves to key statutory boards and companies, and the transfer of reserves among them with the approval of the president, was introduced. Temasek Holdings has (also) acknowledged that it can access the reserves.” If so, it is quite certainly clear that the Temasek Holdings can take our CPF to use (as our CPF is put into the reserves).
Meanwhile, Ho Ching, the CEO of Temasek Holdings and the Singapore current prime minister’s wife and the previous prime minister’s daughter-in-law, said, “While the Minister for Finance (Incorporated) is our formal shareholder, we recognise that the ultimate shareholders of Temasek are the past, present and future generations of Singapore.“
Former Finance Minister Richard Hu had also once said that the reserves are owned by Singaporeans.
实际上。一本书名叫：《东南亚的政府企业的改革》（‘Reforming Corporate Governance in Southeast Asia’）已经明确的新加坡人民是有权拥有淡马锡控股和成为它的终极股东的。这何晶本身已经承认的。
Indeed, the book ‘Reforming Corporate Governance in Southeast Asia’ had illustrated how the citizens of Singapore are the rightful and ultimate shareholders of Temasek Holdings, as Ho Ching herself has admitted.
If so, why has Temasek become a “exempt private company” and the GIC a “private limited company” which are not required to furnish full reports on what it is doing with Singaporeans’ monies to us? Why did the PAP government convert GIC and Temasek Holdings into private limited entities, where Singaporeans are prevented to know how they are taking our CPF monies to use?
Now that we have established that the GIC and Temasek Holdings have indeed taken our CPF for their investments and not return what should rightfully belong to us, when we look back at how the GIC and Temasek Holdings have lost $117 billion in 2008, or 77.5% of the value of our CPF balance in 2008, then is the sudden spike in the CPF Minimum Sum in 2008 related? Were Singaporeans made to foot their losses?
The returns earned by GIC and Temasek Holdings which are not returned is a lot of money.
As I had written, a Singaporean aged 25 who starts work today at $1,000 and works for the next 30 years until 55 will lose nearly $300,000, including for what he/she has to pay for land costs for his/her flat (of which the land he/she doesn’t own, nor the flat).
For a Singaporean who starts work at the median income of about $3,000, he/she will lose almost $750,000.
Leong Sze Hian has calculated how a Singaporean aged 21 who starts work today at $1,500 and works until 65 will lose more than $1.5 million.
And for a Singaporean who starts at $3,000, he/she will lose more than $3 million.
Professor Christopher Balding has calculated that a Singaporean who earns the average wage from 198o to 2011 would have lost more than $260,000.
And if we are to take the example of how if the CPF is invested in the Temasek Holdings and the returns not fully returned, a Singaporean would have lost nearly $4 million!
Thus depending on how you look at it, the average Singaporean would lose between $700,000 to $3 million to the Singapore government, or as much as more than 50% of what we should rightfully earn!
And if you look at this from the resident workforce of 2.1 million people, Singaporeans might possibly be losing as much as $7 trillion in total!
Today, GIC and Temasek Holdings are the 8th and 10th largest sovereign wealth funds in the world.
However, Singaporeans have one of the least adequate retirement funds in the world.
Which is why it is highly problematic that for more than a decade now, the PAP government had refused to admit that they take our CPF to invest in the GIC and Temasek Holdings.
In fact, it is only on 30 May this year that the PAP government finally admitted to the truth that “The Government’s assets (which our CPF is part of) are therefore mainly managed by GIC.“
But this is after numerous denials.
Lee Kuan Yew denied the truth in 2001 (thanks to the Worker’s Party’s Pritam Singh who dug this up).
Lee Kuan Yew denied this again in 2006.
Then-Manpower Minister Ng Eng Hen also denied this in 2007. The Worker’s Party’s Low Thia Kiang had asked, “Does the Government Investment Corporation (GIC) use money derived from CPF to invest?” Ng Eng Hen said, “The answer is no.”
In fact, in 2008, then-Second Finance Minister also claimed that the “Government does not get involved in managing (GIC’s and Temasek’s) investments” and that “these agencies make their own independent commercial and operational decisions”, because it will otherwise “raise even more concerns”.
However, there is indeed even more concern today now that it is known that the PAP government would undoubtedly be involved in managing the GIC, but has continuously denied their involvement!
For the PAP Government is on the Board of Directors of the GIC, with the Singapore Prime Minister as the Chairman no less, and the two Deputy Prime Ministers, two other ministers and an ex-minister. Lee Kuan Yew is the Senior Advisor.
And yet, the GIC Board of Directors are also in the government!
It is thus ridiculous that the GIC claims that, “The government holds the GIC board accountable for portfolio performance, but does not interfere in the company’s investment decisions.”
It is even more absurd that the PAP government would claim that, “The Government plays no role in decisions on individual investments that are made by GIC, MAS and Temasek. At the GIC and MAS, whose boards include Ministers, these investment decisions are entirely the responsibility of their respective management teams.”
In fact, I had written two articles in 2012 and 2013 which traced specifically on the government’s websites how our CPF is indeed taken by the government to invest in the GIC and Temasek Holdings. However, the PAP government deleted the evidence from their websites later on.
Thus it is no longer possible for Singaporeans to know that our CPF, via the government bonds, are invested in the reserves.
And it is also not possible for us to know that the reserves (and our CPF) are managed by the MAS, GIC and Temasek Holdings.
However, “Noting that some had hit out at the Government for using their CPF funds as ‘cheap money’ for its investments, (Lee Hsien Loong) said: ‘Some people say…Government wants cheap money to go and make a profit. We do not have to make cheap money. This is not that kind of government.’“
Also, when Low Thia Kiang asked, “is the motive of holding payment of CPF, the draw-down age, to enable GIC to have a readily available and cheap source of funds to invest?”, Ng Eng Hen had replied, “if it was that cheap, we would have a line of suitors waiting for that money. There is none.”
But in 1983, it was already reported in The Straits Times that, “The CPF … provided a cheap source of finance for the government. The CPF purchases government stocks, and the government loans the money cheaply to the HDB.”
Finally, there is still the elephant in the room.
Gerald Giam had questioned the Minister for National Development Khaw Boon Wah who “confirmed that the value of the flats will be zero at the end of their 99-year lease” and that the Selective En Bloc Redevelopment Scheme (SERS) “is not a scheme intended solely to replace old flats reaching the end of their lease”.
On Sunday, Lee Hsien Loong played the financial advisor and illustrated how much Singaporeans could earn if the last 35 years of lease of the flat is sold back to HDB under the Lease Buyback Scheme.
然而， Joseph Cherian教授指出，政府屋的屋价在66年后将开始贬值，一直到它的99年租赁期满是零价值。这就是说，假设政府屋只剩下33年的租赁期，屋价就开始下跌了。
However, Professor Joseph Cherian had shown that a HDB flat starts losing its value after Year-66 and will eventually have zero value at the 99th year, which means that if the flat only has 33 years of lease left, the flat would start declining in value.
This means that if a person has less than 33 years on their lease, the Lease Buyback Scheme would be redundant, and not only will he/she be “cash-poor”, he/she will be “asset-poor” as well.
Then where will he/she be able to get additional funds to retire on?
的确。Koh Seng Kee已经预先警告说。‘就如大多数的产业是以99年租赁期性质出售的，新加坡人把自己毕生的储蓄投资在一个逐渐贬值的产业上。’和‘除非和直到政府发出讯号说他们准备更新产业租赁合约，新加坡人的储蓄（即政府屋）将不会超过两代人。’
Indeed, Koh Seng Kee had forewarned in 1999 that, “As most properties are sold with 99-year leases, Singaporeans are investing their lifetime savings in depreciating assets” and “Unless and until the Government signals that it is prepared to renew property leases, Singaporeans’ savings will not last beyond two generations.”
So you see, the PAP stumbled onto a huge goldmine – our CPF, and since then, because they got their hands on our easy money, they couldn’t stop using it. They became compulsive gamblers who started using our CPF for all sorts of things, first cutting it up for housing, then healthcare and later on education.
And because they needed to feed their addiction, they could not let Singaporeans take our CPF out. If we did, they would have lesser to use and like drug addicts, they couldn’t wean off our CPF and thus started making it more difficult for Singaporeans to withdraw our money with the CPF Minimum Sum, then increasing it and later on delaying withdrawals, and reducing the interest paid to our CPF, thereby locking our CPF inside for their own use.
And when they could do all that and that was still not enough, power got into their heads – the amount of money that they could play with from our CPF is huge! So they used it to control how much we earn, how much we could spend and because they also owned some of the largest companies in Singapore, they manipulated the market, squeezed local businesses out and created inequalities.
Finally, still not satisfied with their thirst of power and wealth, they opened the floodgates to immigrants, to rich businessmen who could help them get richer and thereby further depress the wages of Singaporeans with cheap imported labour.
It has been happening for at least 30 years now, my friends. They took our cheap money to use and they have gone out of control, holding on to it fanatically as if it is their money. And this is why today, Singaporeans can simply never save enough to retire. It was never the PAP’s plan to let that happen. You will work to your death to produce for them the ready credit.
Thus it is clear that “the interlocking effects of the CPF in the Singapore economy has detrimental effects.”
Linda Low explained that the CPF in its current uses “is perceived to serve the state, not its members especially when deficit turned into chronic government budget surplus since the late 1970s.” However, the PAP would not want to let go of this as “Perpetuating the CPF-fiscal link or implicit taxation enables the People’s Action Party regime to commandeer both financial resources to finesse the political economy of its developmental state as well as dictate CPF members’ choices in consumption, saving and investment.”
Basically, PAP wants to control the lives of Singaporeans, and they have been able to do so via using the CPF and HDB to manipulate the wages, demand and spending of Singaporeans.
Linda Low reaffirmed that, “The CPF is slave to so many schemes, it cannot serve all its masters simultaneously.”
B.C. Ghosh perhaps succinctly put that, “The CPF, to me, kind of lost direction during our great growth days,” he says and like many others, “call for the CPF to go back to basics and restore old age as its key focus.”
Linda Low 也同时表达了，‘公积金开始的阶段是为了新加坡的经济增长和政治经济发展可能无法对一个成熟的经济和人口老龄产生效利。多种的性质和不幸的经济周期性问题和结构危机结合在一起。。。已经动摇了公积金。’
Linda Low also expressed that, “What worked for the CPF in the initial phases of Singapore’s economic growth and political economy development may not have been as effective with a mature economy and ageing population. The multiple nature and unfortunate coincidence of both economic cyclical and structural crises … have shaken CPF.”
Linda Low 大胆的说，‘公积金会是成功和有前途的。但是， 这需要在一个具有很大的社会安全下新的纪元里才会出现这个大转变。’
Linda Low thus ventured to say that, “The CPF has worked successfully and brilliantly, but is in need of some makeover in the new millennium with greater social insecurity.” But she also stated that, “political will and commitment are as imperative in its remaking.”
Finally, Asher ventured:
If de-linking the CPF scheme from housing finance is considered too risky, then the CPF scheme could be formally divided into three components: housing, health care, and retirement.
Second, the investment policies and performance … should be completely transparent, and de-linked from government investment companies. The investments should be mark-to-market and publicly available.
Third, all investment returns must be made known and fully credited to the account of the members.
The short story of it all is – the PAP has styled their survival along leeching on Singaporeans’ CPF and our sustained modern-day slave-labour to generate wealth for their livelihoods (not ours). In all honesty, Singaporeans matter only as much as the lives of the PAP are sustained.
Perhaps now we might understand why there were no significant changes made to the CPF at the National Day Rally （17/-9/2014）last night – the PAP government has come to the end of their tweaking. They have over-stretched themselves with our CPF and are willing to strike a balance on the use of our CPF to as far the extend as they are doing now, in order for them to still be able to tap on our cheap source of funds for their easy access. To them, they have perfected this feedback loop for their purposes. Doesn’t matter if it doesn’t work for Singaporeans or that it is our money. They have legalised the usage.
It is clear that the PAP is unwilling to let go of the “cash cow” that has brought their salaries to sky high limits. The question that must topmost on the PAP’s mind is – but how can they remake (the CPF) while ensuring that their salaries can still be maintained, and the network of crony capitalism that has helped protect their political legitimacy to stay afloat be similarly maintained via the high salaries?
For implicit in the idea of remaking is that delinking the CPF from its multiple uses today would also put an end to the crony capitalism as the PAP knows it and has created as such, and would mean that the economic growth that they has so fiercely pursued would finally have to be shared with Singaporeans. But how can this possibly work for them, when this would directly contravene with the political structure that they have developed, based on the inequitable distribution of wealth to those of their favour.
As such, the steadfast pursuit of growth-at-all-costs and the continued siphoning off of Singaporeans’ CPF into the government’s coffers only goes to affirm one thing – the PAP is more dogmatic about maintaining their political dominance and would rather lock the citizens into their system of control, rather than to kickstart the economy towards a new momentum, for shared growth. This will do harm to their political longevity and thus they would rather compromise on Singaporeans’ longevity.
If indeed this is how the PAP wants to protect their hegemony, at the expense of Singaporeans and against our will, perhaps PAP being the government has run its course and it might only be possible for Singapore to move forward, if Singaporeans delink the PAP from the government, and allow our country to have a new lease of life.
Then, the question would be – are Singaporeans ready to emerge from our denial of bad governance and release ourselves from the lock-in that the PAP has tied Singaporeans into?
Do you have too much to lose now, or will you have more to lose if you do not do something about it now?
3rd Edition Of The #ReturnOurCPF Event
On 27 September, there will be a fourth #ReturnOurCPF event.
Join us at the third edition and take a stand. It is clear that PAP has taken Singaporeans’ CPF and manipulate it for their own uses. Singaporeans still hope that PAP will create new policies to allow us to save enough to retire. It is not going to happen – not with the PAP. You can see very clearly from this article that if the PAP actually wants to take care of Singaporeans, they will have to first undo the system gridlock that they have created, and they have created this system precisely to enrich themselves and their cronies, so why would they undo?
And unless you can help them make the money that they want, you are as good as nothing to them. And so, if Singaporeans continue to hope that PAP will suddenly have an epiphany to help Singaporeans, unfortunately, Singaporeans will have to dream on. If the PAP today will take care of Singaporeans, pigs can fly.
If the National Day Rally 2014 can be used as a gauge, it is evident that PAP has come to the end of the link of their tweaking. To give more to Singaporeans would mean less money for them, and this is a no can do. To take more from Singaporeans would mean angering more Singaporeans and they do not think it is politically viable for them to do so now, as much as they would want to.
So on 27 September, come down to Hong Lim Park. We will see you at Hong Lim Park. Let’s come together, be united and speak for change, for the better for our lives, and our children’s.
You can join the Facebook event page here.
Also, my first court case will be held on 18 September 2014, at 10.00am. It will be a full-day hearing.