NMP against allowing greater flexibility for CPF withdrawals

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SINGAPORE: Nominated MP Chia Yong Yong spoke out against greater flexibility in withdrawing CPF savings in Parliament on Tuesday.
She said this would place a great fiscal obligation on future generations. There had been a lot of discussion on collective responsibilities when it came to the topic of CPF changes.
But Ms Chia noted that it should be viewed in the context of personal responsibilities. For instance, on CPF savings – she felt that people shouldn’t be spending like they would be spending their own salary. This is because CPF savings are enhanced by co-payment by employers and through top-ups from public funds.
Ms Chia said: “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.”
Ms Chia cautioned against a Budget that leans too heavily to the left.
“We have a Budget that has been praised and approved as leaning to the left. But I would also argue that if we lean too much to the left, we will not have much left. So what I will also want to end up with and conclude is that when we talk about collective responsibility, we need to understand that collective responsibility must also be exercised responsibly on a collective basis, as well as on a personal basis.”
Ms Chia also touched on the SkillsFuture initiative and said that unlike infrastructural investments, it would be difficult to measure the scheme’s positive outcomes. Hence, she stressed that the onus is on those who will conduct the training sessions – to exercise integrity and professionalism.
Ms Chia, who is also the President of the Society for Aid to the Paralysed, called on the government to place a greater and more integrated emphasis on training those with disabilities. This will help to empower and equip them to be financially independent.

news source & image credits: channelnewsasia.com
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