Consolidated summary of deficiencies in the CPF system

May 30, 2014 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Current Affairs and Politics 

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Written by Ng E-Jay
30 May 2014

(i) CPF savings have been depleted by rising property prices. The young working adults are saddled with lengthy mortgages and are left with less funds in their CPF accounts for retirement.

(ii) The CPF earns low returns compared to returns purportedly earned by GIC, Temasek, and MAS on their investment portfolios. The investment mandate, the rates of return, and the extent of borrowing and leverage employed by GIC, Temasek and MAS are not subject to public scrutiny.

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Statement by civil society on racism and xenophobia

May 29, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
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Twelve civil society groups have signed a statement to raise concerns about “the recent surge of racism and xenophobia in Singapore” as these sentiments threaten the human rights of all (especially migrants) and the health of our political conversation.

Just this week, a group behind a Filipino Independence Day celebration had to call off the event after the police authorities advised them of law and order concerns.

Some people had earlier said that the manner in which the Filipino event was conducted was disrespectful towards Singapore’s status as a sovereign nation. Yet others criticized its choice of venue — Ngee Ann City Civic Plaza in Orchard, and said that the event should instead be held in a private setting.

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Why the CPF has failed to meet the retirement needs of Singaporeans

May 28, 2014 by · 2 Comments
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Written by Ng E-Jay
28 May 2014

The Central Provident Fund (CPF) was started by the British colonial authority in Singapore in 1955. It was designed to be a retirement scheme for Singaporeans, and both workers and employers would contribute to the scheme. In the early years of our independence, the CPF served the needs of our citizens well.

Over the years, however, the PAP government made gradual modifications to the CPF scheme. To prevent Singaporeans from withdrawing all their CPF funds when they reached the age of 55 years old, the government introduced the Minimum Sum scheme. This scheme mandated that nearly all CPF members, upon reaching the age of 55, set aside a certain portion of their savings in the CPF Retirement Account which can only be drawn down much later. Subsequently, in 2009, the Mininum Sum scheme was replaced by CPF Life, which provides an annuity for life.

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Bus industry revamp acts as a bail-out package and semi-nationalization

May 26, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
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Written by Ng E-Jay
26 May 2014

Last week, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced a major revamp to Singapore’s public bus industry — a move that many observers say amounts to semi-nationalization. I agree that LTA’s latest revamp does amount to a near re-nationalization of the bus industry after decades of privatization.

Under the new bus contracting model, the government will own, provide, and fund all bus operating assets and infrastructure, including buses, depots, monitoring and operations systems, and fare systems. The LTA will determine the bus services to be provided and set the required service standards. Bus operating companies will then bid for the right to operate these services through competitive tendering. Twelve packages of routes, with about 300 to 500 buses each, will be available, and the packages will be based around depots and could be a combination of existing and new routes.

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Tan Jee Say sets up “Singaporeans First” party

May 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
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25 May 2014

Former Presidential Candidate Mr Tan Jee Say has set up a new political party called “Singaporeans First“. The party pledges to put “Singaporeans at the heart of the nation”.

At a press conference on Sunday, 25th May, Mr Tan Jee Say announced the formation of the party and unveiled the founding team, which includes ex-People’s Association members, former members of the Young PAP, architects, a retired army colonel and other professionals.

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Singapore needs to rethink its long term strategy toward ASEAN and China

May 16, 2014 by · 3 Comments
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Written by Ng E-Jay
16 May 2014

Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has confirmed that the Singapore flag was burnt by Vietnamese protesters a couple of days ago during the anti-China demonstrations, during which factories were set on fire, looted, and security personnel and foreigners assaulted. Sadly, as many as two dozen fatalities arising from the riots have also been confirmed.

In a statement released on Thursday, the MFA said that “the flag is a sacred national symbol and should be treated with respect”. The MFA also said that the Singapore embassy in Hanoi has conveyed strong concerns over the incident to the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Public Security.

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Vietnamese protesters torch factories in anti-China demonstrations

May 15, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
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Written by Ng E-Jay
15 May 2014

On Tuesday, 13 May 2014, protesters in Vietnam set fire to several factories in Southern Vietnam that they believed were owned by Chinese. These factories were part of the Vietnam Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP), which is a 500-hectare joint industrial project initiated by the governments of Vietnam and Singapore, and is located primarily in the Thuan An district of Binh Duong province, as well as in Vietnam’s southern, northern and central economic zones.

The protests were motivated by China’s decision earlier this month to move an oil rig into waters near the Paracel Islands which are claimed by Vietnam — an act seen as provocative and infringing on Vietnam’s territorial integrity. Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has described China’s move as being “extremely dangerous”.

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Cost of living in Singapore has nothing to do with aspirations

May 12, 2014 by · 3 Comments
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Written by Ng E-Jay
12 May 2014

Dr Ng Eng Hen, the Defence Minister, tried to deflect the cost of living issue onto Singaporeans by claiming that the high cost of living is due to having higher aspirations in life.

He was speaking at a Singapore Medical Association dinner and was responding to a question from the audience concerning the rising cost of living in Singapore. He said, “If you look at household goods, per household, what people have — handphone, TV — has actually gone up”

Dr Ng added, “Unlike the past, mobile phones are almost an essential item for children.”

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CPF Minimum Sum raised to $155,000

May 9, 2014 by · 4 Comments
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Written by Ng E-Jay
09 May 2014

Once again, the government has shifted the goalposts for Singaporeans who are looking forward to retirement and withdrawing their hard-earned CPF savings. The CPF minimum sum will be raised to $155,000 for those who turn 55 between July 1 this year and June 30 next year.

How has the CPF minimum sum changed over the years? In 2003, the minimum sum, adjusted for inflation, was only $80,000! Five years later in 2008, it had become $106,000. And now, within the span of a decade, it has nearly doubled to $155,000. This represents a compounded rate of increase of slightly over 6 percent per annum for the eleven years from 2003 to 2014.

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Enhanced CPF nomination scheme transfers your CPF to your beneficiary’s CPF

May 7, 2014 by · 2 Comments
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Written by Ng E-Jay
07 May 2014

The CPF Enhanced Nomination Scheme (ENS), which was introduced in January 2011, enables a CPF member to transfer their CPF savings to their nominees’ CPF accounts when they pass away, subject to the prevailing Minimum Sum limit and Medisave Contribution Ceiling (MCC).

All the savings in the Ordinary, Special, Medisave and Retirement Accounts, as well as discounted SingTel (ST) shares, will be distributed to the nominees in the proportion as stated in the nomination form.

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