Random Discourse – The money in my CPF account is my money. Period.

Read this in a Channel News Asia article that got reposted one time too many on my Facebook feed:

In relation to the use of CPF money, we have heard proponents who say that the CPF monies is theirs. “It’s our money, it’s in our account, it’s our retirement money. I want it out, I will spend it anyway we want.” Fine. Is it our money? Our CPF savings are enhanced and forced CPF savings which are accumulated through our own deferred consumption, through co-payment by our employers and through top-ups from public funds. Is it really my private money? Do I have the right to spend it the way I would spend my own salary? I’m not entirely sure.

I know at the end of the day, that because I’m not the only person contributing to the fund, I cannot be the only person to call the shots as to how I am going to spend it. At the very least, I have a moral obligation to spend it wisely. Why do I say that? Because if I’m not judicious in my spending at the end of the day, who’s going to maintain me in my twilight years – the state? Who? Ultimately it means someone else is bearing it right, another taxpayer. So if I’m not judicious and I’m arguing this is my money, I’m not going to be responsible in my use and if I argue this is your money, you use it anyway you want – I’m not responsible as a citizen. – Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Chia Yong Yong

I can see the point she wants to put across – i.e. we need to be aware of the extra cost society have to bear when some people used their retirement funds irresponsibly. But if she wants to emphasize on personal responsibility, Chia Gong Gong Yong Yong has used the worst way to put it across and it completely drowned out the point she is trying to make. Really, she has no need to gild the lily (or what we Chinese would have said – 画蛇添足).

First of all, does it make the money in my CPF account any less my money simply because the employer co-paid part of it? As far as my employer is concerned, the current 16% they are contributing to my CPF is a part of my gross salary. Simply put, my gross pay (pre-CPF deductions) is actually 116% of what is stated in my payslip. So in reality I am actually saving a bit more than 31% of my real gross salary into the CPF. It is preposterous for Chia to argue that because a law makes the employer pay the employee $11.60 instead of $10 an hour, that extra $1.60 does not belong to employee when he only took home $8.

Next, it is ridiculous to argue that because there will be some people who are irresponsible in using their money, we thus deny those who are in need a greater flexibility in withdrawing their CPF Funds. Is she even listening to what the Workers’ Party (WP) was proposing? Had the WP been arguing for unrestricted flexibility in CPF withdrawals, she would have a reason to caution against it. But in this case, she should have just shut up and said nothing instead of pandering to the PAP.

Even if the WP had suggesting unrestricted flexibility in CPF withdrawals, there was no need for all that nonsense about co-payment and public funds top-ups as well. I have mentioned earlier the argument that the co-payment part is not my money has no feet to stand on. As for the top-ups, they are pretty much nothing but a drop in the ocean. In fact, I suppose some people wouldn’t care if they aren’t getting any handouts either. Sure, someone can argue about how much more some other policies directly or indirectly contribute to “growing” that money in the CPF, but realistically I doubt any of that money comes in the form of tax revenue bore by all taxpayers. In other words, I do get what Chia really wanted to say. But I would still say a big f**k you anyways for the elitist way she put it. (It really doesn’t help that this photo usually came attached with the articles linked to what she said. That derisory smile on her face almost make me want to smash her face in.)

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It is my considered opinion that the NMP system should be abolished. Since NMPs did not contest in any elections, they have no voter support to lay claim and they are thus hardly democratic. All of the present 9 NMP seats should be folded into the NCMP system increasing it to 12 seats. NCMP seats will be assigned to the top 12 losers (even PAP candidates who lose). In the event the “losers” is from a Group Representative Constituency (GRC), the political party which lost that contest will nominate one candidate from the team to take up the seat. Hopefully, since they would hope to become elected MPs in the next General Election, they would exercise some caution in what they say. And even if they are ‘talking cock’, that would be far better than some unelected, nominated lackey who seems to be suggesting that some of the money in my CPF account does not belong to me.

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