3 PAP MPs oppose automatic CPF payouts at age 65

In an interview with Channel NewsAsia, which was published last Fri (25 Jan), 3 Members of Parliament from the People’s Action Party said that they are not in favour of CPF members getting their monthly CPF payouts automatically at 65, the official legal age which CPF members are supposed to get their payouts.

They still want the members to officially inform the CPF Board at 65 if the members want to get their payout monies. Currently, the CPF Board would only automatically release the monthly payouts to members when they hit 70, if they did not inform CPF Board.

Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC MP Zainal Sapari, who is also NTUC Assistant Secretary-General, said that the current method of communicating and then issuing the payout is the “most logical and efficient”. Because CPF members have the option to request for the monthly payouts anytime between 65 and 70 years old, it is “logical” that members should indicate when they would like to receive it, he added.

“If the payout is automatic at 65 years old, there can also be a situation when a member (who) actually wanted the payout to be at 70 years old but forgot to opt out,” Mr Zainal said.

His comments came in the midst of the automatic CPF payout controversy when many netizens wanted payouts to be automatic at 65 instead of the present 70. Those who wanted a later payout can always inform CPF Board to do an “opt-out” instead, they suggested.

But Fengshan MP Cheryl Chan (PBM) and Chua Chu Kang GRC MP Yee Chia Hsing agreed with the arguments laid out by NTUC Assistant Secretary-General Zainal.

Chan and Yee are part-time MPs. Currently, Chan is the Head of Secondary Industries (Corporate Strategy & Market Intelligence) with The Linde Group while Yee works at the CIMB Bank as the Head of its Catalist IPO business.

“Either way, there would be people for and against it. For those who have to opt out, if they were to forget or slip that timing, they will also be unhappy,” Chan said.

Yee added that as people tend to work for longer with the re-employment age raised to 67, it could make sense for people to collect their payouts later.

“(Members) always have that option to… start the payout at 65. So if it’s the other way, which is to payout at 65 years old automatically, there will be a portion of people who will be getting their payout even as they continue working which defeats the purpose of the payout. It is meant to cover retirement,” Yee said.

“So it’s not the intention to delay the payout. It’s more to cater to people who are actually working… In fact, because people tend to be living longer, I think it makes sense that if they are working, they should delay their CPF payouts.”

But of course, Yee might have forgotten that many of our elderly are currently working in low-paying jobs like cleaners or security guards and are constantly looking to supplement their incomes.

In any case, Yee does care about the health of Singaporeans. For example, last year, he posted this on his Facebook page, concerning that Singaporeans are not getting enough Vitamin D from the sun: