Photo of SMU Professor

Associate dean of Singapore Management University (SMU), Professor Benedict Koh, launched a tirade at Singaporeans claiming that they “don’t realise what a good deal the CPF is”. The professor on the government payroll said that CPF is so attractive that foreigners are very eager to invest in it:

“I present papers at international conferences. You won’t believe what people say: ‘Can I invest in your account?’. ‘Can foreigners buy it?’.”

Other pompous and lopsided claims made by the professor include:

1) Justifying the low rate of return CPF gives as compared to other pension funds:
“Many people here are not aware that a 4 to 5 per cent interest rate guaranteed by a government with a triple-A credit rating – the highest rating – is simply unique.”

2) Misleading people that higher interest rate is paid for by taxes when it is actually Temasek Holdings and GIC which have to pay more returns for SSGS bonds:
“It is not advisable to extend the extra 1 percentage point interest on the first $60,000 of balances to a higher limit because, eventually, someone would have to pay for that.”

3) Conflating CPF withdrawal between government-mandated retirement plans that forces everyone to invest, and market-based optional retirement plans offered by private insurers:
“Looking at it in parts, people see that they put their money in when they are young, and when they want to take it all out at 55 they are unable to, and at 65 they try again and can withdraw only a portion. In fact, it is similar to what people sign up for with conventional retirement plans offered by insurance companies.”

Professor Benedict Koh also failed to address why CPF failed its contractual agreement with CPF members and why the government is allowed to adjust Withdrawal Age, limit and payout as they wish.

Academics in Singapore rely heavily on the government and are widely disregarded as their credibility is similar that of Singapore’s only mainstream media, Singapore Press Holdings and MediaCorp.