Blogger Roy Ngerng accused the folks at Drew and Napier for refusing to accept his cash payment of $29,000 when he showed up at their office. His lawyer M Ravi insisted that he was about to mail the cheque to Drew and Napier but Roy asked for a refund so he could send the money personally. In his blog, Roy repeatedly complained about being ignored when he turned up to give the money. Something is not quite right here. His attempts to get sympathy from the public remind me of the early Chee Soon Juan.
While Roy did get some sympathy on Facebook, it’s ironic that his own blog sees mostly negative comments. Is this the same Roy Ngerng that received tens of thousands in donations from the public when he was sued? I hope this young man to cut all the wayang and be the sincere analyst who had so much to show ignorant Singaporeans.
Roy’s political acumen aside, the proposed changes to CPF withdrawals deserve our attention. I don’t contribute to CPF (except Medisave, of course), so it’s not a major concern for me, but I can understand too well how others feel, having their life savings locked up for them.
The CPF Advisory Panel’s recommendations involve a lot of new terminology. You can see the explanations here. The following definitions may draw the most interest.
Basic Retirement Sum: The S$80,500 set aside will give members who turn 65 in 2026 monthly payouts of S$650 to S$700 for the rest of their lives, assuming they own their homes and need not pay rent.
Full Retirement Sum: This is the retirement sum of S$161,000 needed by CPF members who do not own their homes or do not wish to pledge it.
Basic Payout: Refers to the monthly S$650 to S$700 payout members will receive if they set aside the Basic Retirement Sum in CPF savings.
Payout Eligibility Age: Introduced to replace the term “Draw Down Age”, the Payout Eligibility Age will be 65 from 2018 onwards. This means members can opt to start receiving their monthly payouts from CPF LIFE.
Property Pledge: A pledge is created if you withdraw sums in excess of the Basic Retirement Sum under the property pledge withdrawal rules. When your property is sold, the amount of the charge or pledge will be returned to your CPF account from the proceeds of the sale. It can then be re-used for subsequent housing purchases or drawn down if you have entered into retirement.
Is this any improvement from the status quo? Hardly. If you digest the figures, you’ll notice that there is practically no change in the concept and value of “minimum sum”. Only names have been changed. If you’re in danger of not having enough for a decent, timely payout, you’ll still be in equal danger of not having enough for a decent, timely payout. The effective minimum sum is $161k and the age at which you are eligible to receive payouts is 65, not 62!
Perhaps Roy Ngerng said it better:
The panel said that it will rename the “CPF Minimum Sum” to “Retirement Sum”. This “Retirement Sum” comprises three levels: Basic, Full and Enhanced. If someone is able to meet the Basic Retirement Sum of $80,500, he/she would get a payout of $650 to $700. If someone is able to meet the Full Retirement Sum of $161,000 or twice the Basic Sum, he/she would get a payout of $1,200 to $1,300. If someone is able to meet the Enhanced Retirement Sum of $241,500 or three times the Basic Sum, he/she would get a payout of $1,750 to $1,900.
But you see, nothing changes. The “Full Retirement Sum” is basically the current CPF Minimum Sum dressed up in a new name. The “Basic Retirement Sum” is basically what happens when people currently pledge their property to meet half the CPF Minimum Sum – no change again. Thus there is nothing new about the “Retirement Sum” except for a name change.
Forget about his immature antics for a moment. I think he wrote a very cogent piece here.
All over Facebook (not so much on Twitter), you can see and feel the disappointment from those who may be affected by CPF regulations very soon. Yet, Today newsPAPer gave us an article with this headline after interviewing 100 people face to face:
How did they arrive at this conclusion? Take a look at this:
“Will you withdraw 20% lump sum from your Retirement Account when you reach age 65?” I’m surprised that only 77% said yes. With that, the PAPer concluded that the public showed “overwhelming” support for “CPF flexibility”. Ya mo gao chor ah? I would have thought that 99% of the respondents would want to withdraw a lump sum. So does that mean that there is “overwhelming” support for “CPF flexibility”? Is this a case of knee jerk reaction? Or is it as case of “fish can’t get, prawn also good”? How do you test it? Simple.
“Will you withdraw 100% lump sum from your Retirement Account when you reach age 65 if you can?” Even an idiot knows that even more people will say yes. So according to their logic, it shows even more “overwhelming” support for “CPF flexibility”.
Want even more overwhelming support? Ask this:
“Will you withdraw 100% lump sum from your Retirement Account when you reach age 55 if you can?”
Next question (asked by the newsPAPer).
“If you can afford it, will you save more beyond the Basic Retirement Sum of $80.500“. 54% – the majority said no. They would rather spend the money or keep it as cash. Doesn’t this tell the “researchers” that the majority of those polled do not like the way the G (apologies to Bertha Henson) is holding on to their life savings?
The “researchers” seem to have forgotten that CPF deductions are compulsory. Many people don’t have much left over for investment after deducting expenses and housing loan. What other form of savings do these folks have? Are you ready for my question? Here goes:
“Supposing you’re unable to meet the minimum sum. Then, you strike $1M Toto. Would you deposit it in your CPF account to meet minimum sum/earn interest or would you rather keep the money readily and completely accessible in your own bank account?”
Wait. There is more. Check this out:
I’ve mentioned this on Facebook before. With so many eloquent commenters on social media, is there a need to look for people on the streets to give their opinions on camera? Two people? Yao mo gao chor ah? Yep, no surprises which side they’re on, but even my 12-year-old won’t take them seriously. How can the newsPAPer people hope to pass this off? “Overwhelming” support for CPF “flexibility”? I don’t think so. If I were the king, I would have all these court jesters executed.
© Chan Joon Yee