When it comes to the Central Provident Fund (CPF), it’s an issue that will definitely spark debates given its sensitivity.
Recently, Minister of Manpower Josephine Teo said in Parliament that the CPF payout eligibility age has not changed, despite the rumours that had been circulating around.
According to her, the CPF Payout Eligibility Age (PEA) has not been increased from 65 to 70, and there has been no changes in the policy for CPF members to apply for their retirement payouts.
She also clarified that people are reminded of their eligibility before they turn 65. This means that if a senior citizen wants to obtain their payout at the age of 65, the person would be required to make an application. If no application is made, then the automatic payouts will begin at 70.
Responding to this issue, an ex-Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Calvin Cheng participated in the CPF debate with a Facebook post on Friday (22 February).
In his post, he said that, “The CPF problem cannot be solved merely by pushing back drawdown dates, or stretching it out.”
He opined that since the life expectancy of Singaporeans are on the rise, it’s impossible for people to retire at the same age as previous generations.
As an example, he drew comparison to European welfare states, which apparently had it worse. “They promised their people that they can retire in their 60s and the state would pay them a pension until they die. As people live longer, this means the state has to pay to support unemployed people for 1/3 of their lives,” he explained.
However, it is uncertain which particular European countries that Cheng is referring to, as different countries have different retirement schemes.
As such, to solve this problem, Cheng suggested that Singaporeans should be encouraged to work longer since people are living longer now, compared to previous generations.
“If people are to live till 90, retirement should not be till at least 70, or even 75 for CPF savings to last. Most people cannot expect to retire at 62 and then spend their next 30 years living off their savings. It’s just not realistic,” he concluded.
After the news on his post went online, as expected it stirred a lot of negative attention for Cheng and netizens were not happy at all at his suggestion. Over 350 comments were received on Mothership’s Facebook page where he was badly trashed by vexed Singaporeans.
Some are even insisting that the CPF payout age should be 55 and the government should’t move the “goalpost”.