SPEECH BY ER DR LEE BEE WAH, MP FOR NEE SOON GRC, AT THE SECOND READING OF THE CENTRAL PROVIDENT FUND (AMENDMENT NO. 2) BILL IN PARLIAMENT ON 10 OCT 2016
1. I wholeheartedly welcome the changes to make the CPF system more friendly and flexible. It shows that our government acts responsibly and responsively.
Exceptions for members who need their RA before 65
2. Firstly, fixing the Basic Healthcare Sum for each cohort is a great relief to Singaporeans. Many Singaporeans were worried that the Minimum Sum is a moving target and they will not be able to reach it when they retire. This change gives them some certainty. Offering different levels of savings on top of the sum also gives members flexibility and choice.
3. Second, members will now have the flexibility to make a lump sum withdrawal of up to 20% of their Retirement Account, after reaching their Payout Eligibility Age (PEA), 65 years old for most members. This is great news for members who need some extra cash to pursue their interest/dream upon retirement.
4. I share the government’s constant concern about making Retirement Account savings last. But I am equally concerned about members’ immediate needs. Just to share one example: i met a resident at my MPS, she lives with her children and is not happy with the (family) situation. She wants to buy her own flat and move out, but she doesn’t have cash. She said that although she has money in her CPF account, “我只可以看不可以用” (I can only look at it, but she can’t touch it).
There is another group of residents who want to downgrade, say from a 5-room flat to a 3-room one, when they are nearing 55 years old, or over 55. But they dare not make the move because they know that the moment they sell their flat, the money will go into their CPF accounts and that will lock their money up and they cannot buy a smaller flat. So for situations like this, I hope it can be more flexible.
Outreach on CPF schemes
5. I’m also glad CPF payouts will start automatically when members reach 70. Indeed, many CPF members were unaware that they previously had to apply for the payout, and some were unaware when or how they should do it.
Actually, many elderly Singaporeans are oblivious to receiving their GST credits, even after the money had been deposited into their account. In spite of the letters of notification, some senior citizens are illiterate and do not have children to keep them informed.
6. In the spirit of enabling Singaporeans to make better use of their CPF, I hope the CPF Board will make a greater effort to reach out to them. When we introduced Medishield Life, everyone could get free consultations at the CCs with the help of volunteers from IFPAS (Insurance & Financial Practitioners Association of Singapore). I would like to take this opportunity to thank them. Many of my residents went to the CC to get their free consultation and they found it very useful.
CPF is going to change quite a bit, especially with the second round of recommendations that were released recently. When all the changes have been finalized, can we also provide such consultations?
7. Madam speaker, Chinese please. 公积金制度的修改，会让国人更安心，同时给他们更多选择。
9. 另一个建议，是更积极地向国人解释如何使用公积金。终身健保推出的时候，我们在所有民众俱乐部让国人免费咨询，反应不错。 公积金制度将有相当大的变化，希望所有变化尘埃落定以后，我们也会有类似的咨询，让国人更了解如何的善用公积金。
Madam, I support the Bill. Thank you.