MARUAH calls for bigger CPF payout

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Human rights group, MARUAH, has called the government to increase CPF interest rates and its minimum retirement payout in the upcoming 2014 Budget Statement.

The group wants the government launch a study to find out the minimum income required by Singaporeans for retirement and subsequently increase the interest rates on the Ordinary Account, Special and Medisave Accounts to meet these basic needs of elderly Singaporeans.

The group recommends that the current CPF LIFE to be doubled to SGD700 from the previous SGD300.

MARUAH believes that Singaporeans have been paying the highest social security contribution in the world but have received the lowest returns.

“The CPF does not adequately meet the retirement needs of Singaporeans. [AsiaOne reported in 2012] 65 per cent of Singaporeans had thought they would not be able to retire comfortably,” MARUAH says in a recent press statement last week.

The group also cites a 2012’s article on AsiaOne that reveals Singaporeans are fearful of poor health, financial hardship and inability to afford healtcare upon retirement. For this reason, MARUAH claims that Singaporeans need a household income of SGD48,773 per annum to retire comfortably. This figure is 68 per cent above the projected household income for a comfortable retirement in 2011.

The group fears more than half of Singaporeans would not be able to withdraw their CPF and would not be able to retire at the legal retirement age: “In 2012, CPF Board states that 35,182 active CPF members turned 55 and less than 50 per cent were able to set aside their full Minimum Sum.”.

MARUAH also adds, “We would also like to advocate for the CPF to be inclusive of vulnerable communities, such as homemakers and Singaporeans with disabilities, through a shared contributory savings scheme between family and the government.”

On a different note, MARUAH calls on the government to expand its budget for education and healthcare.

MARUAH advocates for more government-funded service providers for early detection and intervention for children with special needs and an increase in teaching resources to support these children.

The group points out that despite the move to increase community hospitals and nursing homes, Singapore still has the lowest ratios of population to health personnels among high-income countries. It says there is an urgent need for the government to invest heavily in training and education of Singaporeans to take on nursing jobs, especially those dealing with an ageing population.