Opinion

What Exactly Is Each Political Party Saying about CPF This General Elections?

CPF

Peter Lin

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The Elections are getting everyone talking. Even those who shouldn’t be talking. Like Han Hui Hui, who essentially turned her rally in Radin Mas last night into a rehash of her “Return our CPF” speech. But speaking of CPF, what are each of the political parties saying about CPF this year? We had a look through their manifestos and this is what we found:

 

Singapore Democratic Alliance

The manifesto of the Singapore Democratic Alliance is very helpful at pointing out the common complaints of Singaporeans leading up to this year’s General Elections. But are they just as helpful in suggesting resolutions to these complaints? Let’s look at what their suggestions are:

The SDA says the principal CPF monies – what you are putting in – should not be used for any other purpose, like healthcare, education and buying property. Instead, it should only be used for the purpose it was originally set up for – retirement. They’re also recommending that CPF should earn higher returns. Of course.

BUT… here’s what’s interesting about their suggestion: it is these higher returns that can be used for healthcare, education and buying property. Without touching the principal amount.

Hmmm…. I wonder how high these returns must be if you can only use them to buy your house?

 

Singapore People’s Party / Democratic Progressive Party

The Singapore People’s Party has made the interesting choice of having different manifestos for each constituency they are campaigning in. Perhaps it’s due to the very individualistic natures of each of their candidates. Whatever the reason, at least one of the manifestos is currently online. This would be the SPP-DPP joint team campaigning in Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC, co-led by DPP’s Benjamin Pwee and SPP’s Bryan Long. In this particular manifesto, there’s very little said regarding CPF, just a single-liner saying “people want… control over their CPF monies”.

Well, yes, thanks for noticing that.

UPDATE: Reader Varun Naidu has pointed us to Mountbatten SMC’s candidate’s Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss manifesto, which can be obtained via Dropbox. The link can be found on her Facebook page. Unfortunately, there’s no specific mention of CPF in her manifesto, although she does promise to help teach her elderly constituents how to understand and claim the benefits that the Silver Support Scheme offers, come 2016.

I guess SPP isn’t too concerned about the way the CPF is run these days.

 

Singaporeans First (SingFirst)

The newcomer to the scene is making a big splash by campaigning in Tanjong Pagar GRC, which has always been a walkover since it was formed in 1991. Let’s see if their manifesto mentions CPF:

The Singaporeans First manifesto looks to assure Singaporeans that they will always be taken care of. To this end, they’re proposing “an old age pension provided by the state outside of the inadequate CPF”.

I guess this means they’re okay with keeping the CPF system as it is. They just want an extra safety net in addition to it. Wonder where that money is going to come from…

 

Reform Party

The Reform Party’s manifesto is quite robust. It was also quite hard to find. The link to the Manifesto turned out to be at the bottom of the website, and not at the top. I’m sure that doesn’t mean anything at all.

Anyway, they are once again calling for a reform of the current CPF system. In essence they want to make contributions to CPF (above an unspecified amount) voluntary, as well as implement a “basic old age pension”. How this differs from what CPF is meant to be, we’re not too sure. Stay tuned with us on Facebook as we explore how other pension schemes around the world work, and keep up to date on further developments on this proposal.

They’re also joining the call for CPF monies to be returned at 55.

Err… yeah, that’s about it.

Okay fine, they have discussed further about how this reform of the CPF system is going to work in a “White Paper” last year, and tweaked it a little after the CPF changes earlier this year. You can find it uh… somewhere in their website archives, or you can search for it on Google. It’s not easily accessed from the main page.

 

Singapore Democratic Party

Led by Dr Chee Soon Juan, the party’s economic policy on the CPF has not changed over at least the past two decades. Even before it was renamed the “Retirement Sum” earlier this year, the Singapore Democratic Party has been repeatedly calling for the CPF Minimum Sum Scheme to be abolished.

Note, they’re not calling for the CPF to be abolished, just what is now known as the Retirement Sum. The SDP wants you to get back all your CPF funds when you turn 55, regardless of how much you have.

 

National Solidarity Party

The NSP, despite all its recent membership problems, stands by its detailed manifesto. Huh? What do you mean their 2015 manifesto is only 6 pages long? And looks like it was done in MS PowerPoint?

Err… okay.

Anyway, the NSP is recommending that CPF be something that you can opt in to, and not something that is compulsory. Specifically, they want families who are afraid that their loved ones may gamble their CPF funds away once they get it all back, to make the case to CPF that they don’t deserve the money.

That’s right, if your family doesn’t want you to spend your hard-earned money, the NSP essentially says they should be given the right to stop you from spending it.

Err… okay.

 

Workers’ Party

The Workers’ Party is the opposition party with the most number of candidates campaigning. To be expected, in their manifesto, they are quite clear and concise about their CPF recommendations. They are:

  1. Singaporeans should start receiving monthly CPF payouts earlier, at age 60, and not the current Payout Eligibility Age of 65. However, there should be an option to withdraw your funds later if you so desire, in order to earn more interest.
  2. CPF Life and Silver Support payouts should be linked to inflation. This means that your monthly payout after retirement should not be determined by a pre-determined interest rate, as it currently is, but move in line with inflation. In addition, Silver Support should be given monthly instead of quarterly.
  3. CPF members should get paid special dividends during years of good return on investment of CPF monies. At the same time, there should also be transparency in the investment returns of CPF funds.

Some may criticise that these recommendations are no better than the current CPF policies, but there are subtle differences which are meant to improve retirement adequacy.

 

People’s Action Party

The ruling party’s manifesto is a hefty 88 pages in all four national languages. It also looks like a picture book. You know, just in case you get bored of the words, you can always enjoy the illustrations.

Naturally, they bring nothing new to the table because, you know, they’re actually implementing the policies now. It emphasises what they’ve done in the past 5 years, like introducing CPF Life and increasing contribution rates for older workers.

 

So, which party’s CPF recommendations sound the best to you? Share your thoughts with us.

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Peter Lin

I am the poster boy for reinventing one's self. I've been a broadcast journalist, technical writer, banking customer service officer and a Catholic friar. My life experiences have made me the most cynical idealist you'll ever meet, which is why I'm also the co-founder of a local pop culture website. I believe ignorance is not bliss, and that money is the root of all evil only if you allow it to be.

  • Liang Xu

    Why Han Hui Hui shouldn’t be talking?