Photo of Tharman from The Straits Times

Speaking at the World Cities Summit yesterday, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) Tharman Shamugaratnam responded to ambassador-at-large Dr Tommy Koh’s question about abolishing retirement age and the DPM agreed that Singapore should eventually remove the Retirement Age:

“Singapore’s retirement age has to go at some point.”

Due to the lack of CPF retirement funds, Singaporean elderly has to give up retirement and work indefinitely into their twilight years. The current retirement age is 62, raised from 55. It will be raised to 67 by next year (2017). A delay in Retirement Age usually translates to delaying of the CPF Withdrawal Age, however the official announcement by CPF has not been made. Abolishing the Retirement Age would also affect CPF Withdrawal Age.

In a 2014 government survey, 40% of the Singaporeans surveyed want to retire at 55, while a further 20% want to retire at 60.

At the forum, Dr Tommy Koh claimed that he is now 78 years old and he wants to continue working:

“I am 78 years old, I am working full-time and I think many older Singaporeans are like me. They don’t dream of playing golf or lying on a beach. We want to continue to work and contribute to society.”

However unlike Dr Tommy Koh, most elderly in Singapore works lowly-paid and demeaning jobs like cleaners and security guards. Also unlike the PAP elite, Singaporean elderly have to struggle with the cost of living and many are suffering from malnutrition, according to a government health report.

There have been speculations that the Singapore government lost too much money in foreign investments and have no money left to pay back its CPF obligations. The wife of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is the CEO of the country’s sovereign wealth fund company, Temasek Holdings, and she recently lost S$24 billion in the latest financial year.