Former Manpower Minister and PAP candidate for East Coast GRC Lim Swee Say warned Singaporeans not to change the CPF system because it will not be sustainable. The PAP candidate shot down proposals from Opposition parties calling them populist and drastic.

“Whatever we do, we must bear in mind what is the purpose of CPF. In other words, we may change the ‘how’, we may change the ‘what’. But we should never forget the ‘why’.

While we discuss and debate the refinements that we (may) make to the CPF system, we must always remember that we must stay true to the purpose of CPF, and more importantly, make sure that the CPF system is sustainable.

Because it’s easy to talk about things that will be popular with the people today. Whatever changes, whatever refinements we make to the CPF system, it will have major implications for our people — not today, but 10 years from now, 20 years from now, 30 years from now.”

Photo of Lim Swee Say from CNA
Photo of Lim Swee Say from CNA

Currently, the CPF Withdrawal Age has been raised from 55 to 65 years old, with plans to further raising it to 67 in 2018. The CPF Minimum Sum is increased every year and has since since doubled to S$161,000 in 2015 from S$80,000 in 2003.  Many Singaporean retirees are forced into the workforce because they are not able to retrieve their retirement money from the CPF as initially planned. The PAP government intends to continue increasing Minimum Sum and CPF Withdrawal Age because “people are living longer”.

Lim Swee Say also blamed Singaporeans for not “understanding” government policies which led to discontentment:

“I realised that if we can find a simple way to highlight the key concept — the main point of our policies — many people, once they understand better, they will accept the policy even better”