On Sunday (30 June), TOC reported a story about 60-year-old Lim Koh Leong who was not allowed by the CPF Board to use a portion of his CPF fund to pay for his daughter’s education, despite having more than enough money in his account.
Mr Lim revealed on his Facebook post that he currently has more than S$70,000 in his CPF account and he only needs S$15,000 for his daughter’s school fees. Unfortunately, his request was denied by the staff at CPF.
“I felt cheated, humiliated, angry. So many years of hard work, sweat and tears to earn the money and it’s inside CPF. It is supposed to be my money. I’m in need of it and yet, I cannot take my own money to help pay my daughter’s school fees,” he wrote.
Earlier on Friday (28 June), CPF Board responded to his plight on its Facebook page stating that the elderly man did not have sufficient money in his CPF account for “basic retirement”. As such, allowing him to use his CPF money for his daughter’s education is “not appropriate”.
CPF then advised Mr Lim that a “better approach” is to “find other ways to finance his daughter’s school fees”, noting that both parties are “discussing alternative options”.
However, in the comment section of CPF Board’s reply which garnered over 500 responses, netizens slammed the organisation as they questioned why Mr Lim is not allowed to use his “hard earned money” to fund his own daughter’s education. They noted that CPF has no right to “dictate” how he uses his own money, adding that he only wants it for his child’s education and he should be allowed to do so.
Some even said that at the moment, his daughter’s education is more important to him than his retirement years, hence it’s crucial that he uses the fund for her.
A bunch of them also said that CPF’s reply was “robotic, lacking of compassion, cold blooded and no empathy”, adding that it was a “standard SOP” answer.
Other the other hand, a few online users wondered what is deemed as “appropriate” for CPF as no parent would want to burden their child further with study loan. They added that by financing kids’ education, they can hopefully earn better in the future and then help finance their parents’ retirement better. Patrick Chee also said, “Retirement is fictitious if the daughter does not even have a chance to study Higher for a better future. Meaning father have to continue working to pay daughter loan.”
Jag Tan pointed out that opting for bank loan to study will not be “a sensible solution” if Mr Lim’s daughter has to pay a higher interest rate to the bank compared to what CPF is charging. “In that case, CPF should allow the loan and the daughter will have to pay back with interest. That would not affect her dad’s retirement fund,” he explained.
Besides that, John Yu stressed that “CPF Board has got completely a wrong understanding of RETIREMENT.” This is because some people marry late in life, which means they will have to support their kids past their retirement age. As a parent, they still have to look after their children even if they’re 60 plus, but CPF Board has made retirement as looking after just themselves, which Mr Yu thinks is very “selfish”. Therefore, he said CPF Board’s suggestion is “crazy” and asked them to “correct this cruel and contradicting policy immediately”