The government has to ask itself honestly why the simmering discontent of the CPF issue has not been addressed for a decade.
It took a concerned citizen, Roy Ngerng, to dig out tonnes of convincing data and legal action by PM Lee before our MPs suddenly became aware that hundreds of thousands of CPF members are unhappy with the system.
Even PAP MP’s like Tin Pei Ling suddenly has an opinion on CPF and asks the government to “make the rules governing the use of CPF monies more flexible” and “evaluate the feasibility of guaranteeing a higher rate of return on CPF monies”. PAP MP Zagy says “we should find ways to reduce citizens’ unhappiness with the changing ‘goal posts’ of the Minimum Sum amount. But Zagy still insisted on “a Government-backed investment plan that tracks inflation,..” although it’s clearly the government’s failure which led to our unhappiness.
To show his disconnect from current issues, PAP MP Liang Eng Hwa instead lauded the CPF system. Besides saying he “fully support further improving the CPF savings and CPF life annuity schemes..”, he does not have any meaningful suggestions.
Why have MPs not been listening despite the CPF issue being an open secret? Are our MPs aware of other issues or are they slumbering?
Minister Tan Chuan Jin’s clarification turns out to be anything but a clarification. Tan could not be bothered to address CPF members’ concern with regard to transparency. When a minister refuses to quell speculations that CPF funds have been lost through bad investments, it raises even more fear that this may be true after all. Tan’s ‘clarification’ is nothing but a weak attempt to convince members to continue allowing the government to use our CPF savings but provide us with sub-inflation rate returns.
CPF is our hard-earned retirement savings which no single political party one can decide on how we should spend. Retirees are 55 years old, not 15.
Roy has been instrumental in getting the CPF issue highlighted and is now the target of a lawsuit. If Roy loses, he will likely face bankruptcy proceedings and will not be able to represent ordinary citizens on better platforms to highlight our concerns ie such as being elected into Parliament. Roy is a health care worker whereas the plaintiff, the most powerful Singaporean, is one who earns more than $2 million in tax dollars.
I am not related to Roy but have found him to be an inspiration to Singaporeans and I have written twice to PM Lee stating my support for him. I have also stated that the CPF system is opaque and that this creates a distrust among citizens; transparency is needed. The PMO has not disagreed. I have also informed PM Lee that legal action against Roy will not deter others from speaking up.
The impending CPF policy changes will benefit all CPF members. Thanks to Roy, the government can no longer pretend an issue does not exist.
From the majority of online comments, Roy appears to have been bullied.
How do we help Roy?
It does not require much from each of the 3.5 million CPF members. If only a fraction, say 10% or 350,000 members chip in $10 each, help to foot Roy’s legal fees, this would amount to $3.5 million. Even at 1%, the amount is $350,000.
Using legal threats to silence an ordinary citizen has no place in a democratic first world country. When the leader ceases such actions, his subordinates will naturally follow We, the citizens, did not vote in politicians with vast amount of financial resources, earned from us, to sue us till our pants drop.
There is nobody better than Roy to speak up for ordinary Singaporeans and his voice must not be allowed to be silenced because he cannot afford to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees.
Court proceedings will also shed some light on how our CPF system really works, where our savings are invested and the market values of all investments using CPF monies. If speculations of huge losses are proven to be true, this can be immediately addressed. Transparency will be greatly improved.
Transparency is our right and not a privilege. It is a shame that MPs have not raised the CPF issue in parliament and have been finally awakened by a concerned citizen. Let’s all provide Roy with our support and put a stop to the use of legal threats once and for all.
For too long, we have all lived in fear. We cannot continue to allow the powers that be to continue threatening and hitting any of us with a lethal legal stick and when an individual falls, the majority simply pretend it did not happen.