CNA report gives incorrect impression: Lim Swee Say


Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, and secretary general of the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), Lim Swee Say, has issued a statement to clarify a report by Channel Newsasia on 22 June.

Mr Lim pointed out that the report was “incorrect” and that one of the points he was making was “reported out of context”.

Below is Mr Lim’s letter to CNA.

I refer to the article, “Prepare for retirement ‘by using less CPF money when young'” (23 June).

The article para-phrased my comments and wrote, “The best way for Singaporeans to prepare for retirement is to use less of their Central Provident Fund (CPF) money when they are young.” It gave the impression that I have urged Singaporeans not to use their CPF monies before retirement for any purpose including housing, healthcare and education for our children.

This is incorrect.

For the record, I made three points about CPF:

Firstly, CPF is your money. Nobody can take away that money from you.

Secondly, your money with CPF is 100% safe and continues to earn risk free interest, even during challenging times like the global financial crisis in 2009.

As the third point was reported out of context, I reproduce the relevant text of my interview here:

“Thirdly, the money is mainly for your retirement purpose. Besides housing, healthcare and education for your children, a very important part of CPF is to cater for retirement. So, for every dollar, if you can defer the use of the dollar, it is better to defer the use of the dollar when you are still young. For example, instead of thinking of whether you can spend your CPF savings at the age of 55, I think we should think about how we should help our Singaporeans remain employed, to continue to earn a good living, a good job and at the same time, to continue to contribute to the CPF. Because the more money you have in your CPF and the longer you defer the use of the CPF, the more you will have for retirement, as all of us are living longer and longer. So, these are the three basic points: firstly, the CPF is your money, no one can take away from you. Secondly, your money is 100% safe. Thirdly, the less you make use of your money when you are young, the more money you will have for retirement.”

It is clear in this context that ‘young’ refers to those who are aged 55 and “less use” of the CPF money refers to the CPF cash withdrawal for purposes other than housing, healthcare and education for the children.

Lim Swee Say
National Trades Union Congress