Singaporean citizens & PRs can leave the country with their CPF money, provided they don’t settle in West Malaysia

What’s the fine print when someone wants to renounce their Singaporean citizenship to withdraw his CPF monies?

One Facebook user Muhammad Joe Abdullah earlier pointed out in the group COMPLAINT SINGAPORE that the CPF Board has a rule which states that if a Singaporean citizen or Permanent Resident wants to renounce their citizenship or PR status, they can withdraw their CPF but only if they do not move to West Malaysia. (The post has since been removed)

Effectively, if a citizen or resident wants to leave, they can but they can’t if they decide to settle in West Malaysia.

The CPF withdrawal form for those who want to leave Singapore permanently, will have to agree to the following declaration:

I am not a citizen/permanent resident of Singapore.

I am about to leave/has left Singapore and West Malaysia permanently with no intention of returning for further employment or residence.

Basically, if you want to leave Singapore and take your CPF with you, you have to agree to never return to West Malaysia or Singapore. It specifically says ‘permanently with no intention’.

Does that mean if someone decides to renounce their Singaporean citizenship and move to East Malaysia (Sabah & Sarawak), they would be allowed to? But if they later decided to move to West Malaysia, would the Singapore Government have an avenue to demand that the person return their CPF withdrawal since they are no longer complying with the declaration?

This condition has been in place for a long time now but what is the reason for it? Is it a way for the government to prevent an abuse of the CPF system? To prevent people from taking all their money with them out of Singapore to their geographical rival, Malaysia?

Most importantly, shouldn’t a person be allowed to withdraw their own CPF savings regardless of where they want to move to? It’s their money, after all.

One commenter noted that their sibling was able to move to KL with all his CPF contributions. However, they didn’t specify if their sibling was a Malaysian citizen working in Singapore or even how old they are.

In the case of Malaysian citizens working in Singapore, they are allowed to withdraw their CPF only after the age of 55. They can also make a full withdrawal below the age of 55 but above 50 only if they haven’t worked in Singapore for the past two years.

So the prohibition of moving to West Malaysia with your CPF contribution only applies to Singaporean citizens.

The CPF website also says:

If you are an Ex-Singapore Citizen or Ex-Singapore Permanent Resident returning to obtain Singapore permanent residency or citizenship, you are required to make full refund of the amount withdrawn, including the retrospective interest, to your CPF accounts.

So once you leave, there’s no real way for you to come back to being a Singaporean citizen or PR once you’ve left. You have to pay up if you want to do it.

Maybe it’s one way for the government to make it tougher for Singaporeans to leave and take their money with them to benefit their closest neighbour.

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