ST headline “CPF money 100% safe: Swee Say” caught my eye. I knew anything related to Lim Swee Say, minister with zero portfolio with a fetish for DTF toothpicks, would be interesting. The more our government emphasises the ‘safety’ of CPF monies in the absence of transparency, the more CPF members should worry.
Source: Straits Times
Second paragraph: “While many investments had been lost during the global financial crisis, he pointed out, CPF had still continued to earn interest then”.
What does “many investments” mean in dollar value? $10 billion? $50 billion? That “CPF had still continued to earn interest then” is obviously redundant. Swee Say loves to highlight the obvious but does not provide any supporting data. Talk is cheap. It’s like telling Singaporeans ‘the sun will rise tomorrow”. No, not just “tomorrow” but “tomorrow morning”.
Third paragraph: “(The) money with CPF.. was not only safe, but continued to earn risk-free interest”. Who is Swee Say trying to kid? First he says “many investments had been lost” (billions) and a few seconds later claims CPF money “was not only safe, but..”.
Swee Say has certainly mastered the art of speaking half-truths: “You have the money, the account, and you receive the statement of accounts on a regular basis, so you know exactly how much money you have. CPF money is something that “nobody can take away”.
Oh really? “Nobody can take away” our money? Swee Say should be upfront and tell the student participants the PAP government has been helping themselves to OUR CPF monies through legislation, locked them away in a ‘55 till 65 cannot touch account’ and then subject members to a ‘monthly installment until you mati’ scheme.
Recall Minister Khaw had recently said about having a degree: “You own a degree, but so what? That you can’t eat it. If that cannot give you a good life, a good job, it is meaningless”. Using Khaw’s logic, the students should have told Swee Say: “You have a CPF account, receive statement of accounts on a regular basis and know how much money you have, so what? If the money ‘can see no touch’ for 10 years and cannot give us a good life, it is meaningless.”
Swee Say should be upfront and inform the student participants that the dominant party in parliament is able to shift the CPF goalposts any time, any where. Withdrawal age has already been shifted 10 years, from 55 to 65; the PAP could easily, and likely, raise this to even 70 with no resistance in parliament.
Swee Say also said our “CPF is 100% safe and is protected against events like the global financial crisis”. This is clearly false as the market value of CPF investments in GIC were decimated during the crisis.
It is almost impossible to believe a confused cabinet minister could have made such comments. But then again, coming from Lim Swee Say, nothing is impossible.