GE 2015 will present a golden opportunity for CPF members to show PAP who’s the real owner of our CPF and that we will not accept PAP’s pay-until-you-die CPF installment plan.
Only irresponsible and morally-bankrupt politicians are capable of preventing and delaying our access to our hard-earned retirement funds. CPF members must know that man-made laws can be unmade, ie by voting any party other than PAP.
The objective of the CPF scheme is no longer to benefit Singaporeans but PAP. After legislations converted OUR retirement savings into state reserves, our CPF belongs to us only in name. The control of our money lies in PAP’s hands.
For members who have not been following the CPF issue, allow me to recap some important facts to convince you that the longer PAP controls Parliament, the more difficult it will be to get our CPF returned.
1 According to the 2004 CPF annual report, which has recently been removed from CPF website to prevent public scrutiny, CPF members aged 55 and above had total balances of $13.9 billion in December 2004 (see chart below). The reason for PAP to continue raising the Minimum Sum was because PAP already could not return this amount to members.
PAP keeps reiterating it has sufficient non CPF reserves to boost public confidence without disclosing the performance of our CPF investments. Something is clearly not quite right.
By 2009, CPF balances for this age group had ballooned to $35 billion (chart below) when it should be ZERO under our original contract with the government. At the stroke of a pen, PAP kept increasing the Minimum Sum amount to channel an additional $21 billion into GIC in 5 years.
By 2014, this amount more than doubled to $79 BILLION (chart below) from 2009. PAP already could not return previous smaller amounts and it’s therefore IMPOSSIBLE to return $79 BILLION to all CPF members today. And so we keep seeing PAP tweaking policies to channel more of our CPF into GIC instead of returning to us.
Despite knowing an increasing number of CPF members will threaten its grip on power, it has chosen to continue increasing the Minimum Sum to $$204,500. Why?
(The urgency in which PAP had increased the Minimum Sum by ridiculous amounts naturally made many Singaporeans suspicious – something is amiss with our CPF investments. Trust in the PAP has gone down the drain and it’s time to open up GIC’s books to prove to members that our CPF has been well managed and not lost.)
By 2020, CPF balances of retirees will be more than $110 billion and likely to increase to at least $200 billion when our population reaches 6.9 million. If PAP’s parliamentary majority is not drastically reduced, it may tweak CPF rules again by, perhaps, increasing the withdrawal age to 80. PAP’s propensity to cause more suffering should not be underestimated.
Tan Chuan Jin, paper general and minister says elderly cardboard collectors could be exercising to supplement the little that they have. Are drink can collectors also exercising?
2 Where in the world do retirees invest 100% of their retirement savings in foreign assets? If no sane person invests in such a manner, why is PAP doing so with our CPF?
There are billions in annual CPF obligations because thousands of members turn 55 every year. Investing in foreign assets subjects our CPF to political uncertainties and exchange rate volatility. Under such conditions, there is no way for PAP to plan for the discharge of CPF obligations.
3 PAP tells CPF members half truths such as our CPF is guaranteed by the government. PAP says the government bears the risk, using tax dollars, but the risk is actually borne by CPF members because we are also taxpayers. Only some 775,000 foreigners, whose CPF accounts CPF Board still manages, benefit from PAP’s guarantee.
4 PAP’s guarantee is akin to a bank’s fund manager guaranteeing its clients using the assets of the bank. In the event that the guarantee is invoked, the share price of the bank will collapse and there may even be a run on the bank.
What will happen to Singapore, touch wood, should there be massive losses in our CPF investments?
5 Instead of guaranteeing high interest rates, we have been paid very low long-term rates for almost 3 decades. This is one of the causes of our retirement shortfall. PAP wants to continue with the current arrangement where our CPF belongs to the state and GIC can continue to cream off returns in excess of CPF rates.
Is PAP not devoid of morality and ethics?
6 Not all CPF balances is invested unless lending to HDB flat buyers count as investment! A high percentage of ‘HDB’ loans was provided by CPF members with surplus balances, without which owning a HDB flat would have been impossible for many Singaporeans. PAP has been using our retirement savings to ‘resolve’ the high cost of housing.
PAP is quite scheming and conceals the true identity of the lender by first converting CPF to state reserves. With the money in PAP’s hand, it lends to HDB to provide concessionary loans to flat buyers.
Such a convenient arrangement makes HDB flat buyers feel eternally grateful to the PAP government for charging concessionary loans at low interest rates. PAP gets all the credit without lifting a finger to raise the loan amount; it simply dips into other CPF members’ surplus balances.
But we should not ignore the downside to this – CPF members who provided the loans will be faced with the issue of retirement inadequacy. CPF members have therefore paid a high price for our public housing program.
7 HDB flat buyers pay 2.6% to HDB which then pays, indirectly, CPF members 2.5%. The 0.1% goes to admin costs, maybe even a profit for PAP. Since such an arrangement was conceived by PAP, it must shoulder the blame for our huge retirement shortfall.
Currently, the $36.6 billion HDB loan from the ‘government’ comes from other CPF members. This amount is effectively earning a guaranteed 2.5%, paid by flat buyers, and is not invested by GIC.
8 GIC’s books cannot be opened for the public because it will show a large portion of our CPF was never invested but loaned to HDB to provide concessionary loans at low rates to flat buyers. It is therefore a fact that our retirement plans have been screwed by PAP.
9 PAP says CPF monies die-die must commingle with our reserves in order to provide guaranteed low long-term returns. The real objective is to obfuscate and prevent public scrutiny. Of course few Singaporeans believe in such crap.
Singaporeans had better realise our CPF will never be returned by PAP so long as it is given a blank cheque in Parliament. The abuse of our CPF began decades ago when our retirement savings were not invested but used as ‘friendly loans’ among CPF members.
This has resulted in HDB flat buyers benefitting at the expense of CPF members who will experience a huge shortfall in retirement funds. PAP also uses CPF retirement savings to support exorbitant housing prices.
When CPF rules are tweaked to prevent and delay the withdrawal of citizens’ hard-earned retirement savings till we die, the morality and ethics of such a government must be called into question.
In 6 days’ time, CPF members will have to decide if our CPF belongs to us or a morally-bankrupt PAP.