The Online Citizen

Did Hri Kumar avoid answering the point by Kenneth Jeyaretnam?

Did Hri Kumar avoid answering the point by Kenneth Jeyaretnam?
June 16
07:30 2014

Did Mr Hri Kumar Nair, PAP Member of Parliament for Bishan Toa Payoh GRC avoid the point raised by Mr Kenneth Jeyarathnam, Secretary-General of Reform Party on the budget of Singapore?

The two had a brief exchange during a CPF forum organized at Thomson Community centre on Saturday with residents of Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC as well as members of public who were interested in taking part in the discussions.

A video taken by Wake Up, Singapore shows Mr Kenneth making his comment as Mr Hri Kumar was presenting a slide of the budget balance for 2012 and 2013.

Before the video started recording, Mr Kenneth stood up t0 question whether the Budget figures presented by Mr Hri Kumar really represented the government’s true fiscal position. He said that the Net Investment Returns Contribution, which is supposed to be up to 50% of the returns on the reserves, was almost entirely matched by the Special Transfers in the Budget.

He then pointed out that in the 2014 Budget an $8 billion Pioneer Generation Package had been announced and the Net Investment Returns Contribution had been entirely used to fund that. However of that $8 billion only some $240 million was budgeted to be spent in 2014.

KJ: And so, I notice every year the Finance Minister transfers the Net Investment Returns Contribution into new long-term funds. It’s not actual spending on the people, it’s actually just putting it back into the reserves. So its… I’ve called it Smoke and Mirrors. (See more here for what Mr Kenneth has written)

Hri Kumar:  Ha, Okay.

KJ: And then the Net Investment Returns Contribution, where you say you’re sending 50% of the returns on the reserves, the actual figure for the surplus, I think, in 2012 is about $30 billion so the government is making much, much more…

Hri Kumar: Sure.

KJ: Than the 50%.

Hri Kumar: You can publish your own figures and put them on your own website.

KJ: But the problem is we can’t get the figures from the government.

Hri Kumar: Well, you have the figures here.

KJ: I know. But you won’t give us the figures.

(Laughter)

Hri Kumar: You can ask your friends to ask questions. Any question you have please write in.

KJ: Alright OK. (Sits down)

Hri Kumar: I want to deal with reality here.

 

 
  • PikuChoo

    Questions like these should be asked in parliament. Hri Kumar could not be expected to have such figures just off the top of his head unless he is intimately involved on with such matters in govt.

  • TheConviction

    I see the Grassroots leader who mocked the old lady

    • Arnold_Chong

      I was disgusted as the way that grassroots leader mocked the poor old lady.

      She shouldn’t be in the grassroots if all she does is mock the poor and less fortunate.

      • Arnold_Chong

        76-year-old Lady begs PAP to Return CPF Money

    • GUSSIE91

      PAP MP is always looking down and mocking the old poor retirees, because they rich w/$millions salary…………..
      We should not vote him in the next GE 2016.

  • nelsonmandala

    Hri Kumar: I want to deal with reality here.

    ……………..

    so hari krishnan in REALITY..what are YOU goin to do bout the poor 77ear ole lady last and final cpf balances? or are YOU juz simply gonna hav anda cake party with JEAN ANG the grassroot senoir

    https://fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xap1/t1.0-9/p180x540/10342499_1481851472047298_2365378328009813905_n.jpg

  • GUSSIE91

    you see……………..who has told the world that Hri Kumar is a capable person to resolve our CPF money?
    Definitely not me.

    • nelsonmandala

      ms jean ang perhaps?

  • IM Flameless

    The grassroots people are probably trying very hard to get their children into good school. They will do anything, anything at all to please the minister and make them feel less embarassing in public “forum” like this. You hardly see this kind of attitude in a democratic country. Singapore indeed has many problems like this, in fact, we have more problems than many other countries.

  • IM Flameless

    OH, I just noticed there was an old lady in white cheong sam. Must be someone from the grassroot with poor dressing sense, the dress cutting look too high and inappropriate for camera. You see, these are the people who tried to look like “rich Tai Tai” but ended up as gossip material all over the place. She has better look at herself in the mirror before she “open” herself up in public like this.

  • BrownHorn

    A few socialist policies will be in place soon. CPF next?

    After the S$1 billion Community Silver Trust, two new socialist
    policies, the Pioneer Generation Package and MediShield Life will be put
    in place.

    A next major step is necessary…it is the CPF monies.

    Once medical for life, the main concern, is taken care of for the
    elderly, for those above 55 and 65 [with their grave worries reduced], then next will be how to take care of the CPF minimum sum.

    It is about how to release CPF money and not become overly kiasi and
    kiasu that started with the Howe Yoon Chong Report for the Govt to keep
    on increasing the MS year after after.

    It has to be addressed now due to rising COL and the public disquiet over the rising MS, which hits at all and sundry.

    It has become an issue of discontent to the people and a political hot
    potato in the hands of the PAP Govt. Who wants to continue with this
    discomfort?

    It is about time how to keep those above 55 alive
    not only medically but to provide meals on the table, as money in hand
    counts, and not just to keep the CPF MS locked away till they die as
    some might kick the bucket sooner than others and end up not able to
    spend their hard earned money.

  • BrownHorn

    This is in my blog.com and more at this link: http://tankoktim.blog.com/…/cpf-minimum-sum-should-we…/

    “CPF Minimum Sum”

    Will the PAP Govt have the political will to address the CPF MS issue decisively?

    The MS was not in the original CPF scheme when it was introduced. The
    MS came about based on the report of the late Mr Howe Yoon Chong on
    concerns of a fast ageing Singaporean population.

    I wrote the
    following in the ST Forum [please see my letter to ST Forum below] with
    some explanatory notes on my proposal to have a CPF Compassion Fund to
    unlock the MS issue financially and politically.

    I hope the
    Govt will study and debate my proposal thoroughly as the dollar amount
    is the key deciding factor to address the concerns of the governed and
    the govern with regard to the MS.

    The Govt should focus on the following and decide:

    a] what amount should the CPF members withdraw at age 55 from the
    retiring account, should it be the entire amount [which was the original
    scheme of the CPF]?

    b] should half the amount be withdrawn at
    age 55 and the balance half at age 65? Or, should it be withdrawn in
    three equal amounts at age 55, 65 and 75?

    c] should 5% of the
    withdrawn amount [ total of the 5% retained by the CPF Board should not
    exceed $10,000] be placed in the new proposed ‘CPF Compassion Fund”?

    d] should it be capped at $10,000 or $5000, or less?

    e] should the Govt fund it by dollar-to-dollar matching to double the
    CCF amount to make this new Fund proposal financially feasible? If
    dollar-to-dollar matching is financially onerous, what other amount is
    comfortable to the Govt?

    f] should the Govt give a $300 monthly
    subsistence from the CCF to the destitute, those who have squandered
    their CPF money, are homeless, and have no cash or any form of physical
    asset? Is S$300 per month too high or too low? What should be the
    amount?

    g] should the Govt allow those who reach 85, but have
    not claimed the monthly subsistence from the CCF, to ask for their
    contributions to be returned to them from the CCF? Should the age be
    set at 85 or should it be at 80?

    h] should the Govt keep the
    contribution in the CCF for the benefit of the rest of the society when
    the CPF member dies before 85 or after 85? Or, should the contributions
    be paid to the nominee or next-of-kin of the CPF member?

    i]
    should there be an option for the CPF members to opt out not to join the
    CCF? This will mean that the CPF members want the CPF to apply the MS
    [wef the MS would be $155,000] on them.

    The CCF will not take
    off if it is the political and financial aim and intention of the Govt
    to keep the MS system [ wef 1 July it would be $155,000] rather than
    revise the CPF Act to set up the CCF and allow members to withdraw their
    CPF money. To the Govt keeping the MS would mean having $155,000 from
    a cheap source of money for the Govt to deploy and invest overseas or
    locally. I hope the MS is not set up for this intention alone.

    If the MS is not based on this intention, I hope the Govt will be
    prepared to review the CPF system to allow CPF members to withdraw their
    CPF money when they reach 55 and at age 65 under the proposed CCF,
    which would pool the resources of CPF members to address the concerns of
    the Govt that it would face a huge financial burden if many CPF members
    squander their money and become penniless and become parasites of
    society.

    Is the Govt overly concerned that the unlocking of the
    CPF money by releasing it to the CPF members at age 55 and 65 will
    cause inflationary pressures to rise?

    Does the Govt have the political will to address this ‘common misery’ syndrome, one way or another, effectively?

    Not to do so, will it become politically untenable which could lead to
    losing trust between the governed and the govern, and more votes and
    parliamentary seats?

    Would it be even a case of losing the war and not just the battles?

    ===========
    Address CPF concerns with ‘compassion fund’
    Published on Jun 13, 2014 by ST Forum

    Perhaps a pooled fund for those hit by financial woes, called the CPF
    Compassion Fund, could be set up to address concerns of Singaporeans
    over the Central Provident Fund’s Minimum Sum.

    Singaporeans who
    have depleted their CPF savings and are in financial difficulty can
    then tap this fund for monthly subsistence.

    Singaporeans can
    contribute to the new fund in this way: Allow CPF members to withdraw
    their retirement fund, half the amount at age 55 and the balance at 65;
    however, at each withdrawal, 5 per cent must be left behind, up to a
    total sum of $10,000. This sum will then be transferred to the common
    compassion fund. The Government should match contributions dollar for
    dollar to build up this new fund.

    To qualify for subsistence
    payouts from the new fund, Singaporeans will have to be aged 65 and
    above and show proof of having no cash or physical assets.

    Those who hit 85 and have not drawn on the compassion fund should be
    allowed to ask for their contributions to be returned to them.

    However, one’s contributions, if not withdrawn from the new fund, cannot
    be passed on to the next of kin or nominees after the CPF member’s
    death.

    The money will remain in the compassion fund to help the rest of society.

    CPF members should be allowed to opt out of the compassion fund and
    continue with the current system, which requires them to maintain a
    minimum sum, currently set at $155,000. Hopefully, my suggestion will
    allay concerns about the state being burdened should Singaporeans
    squander their CPF savings, as well as allow the original terms of the
    scheme to be honoured.

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