Lawyer M Ravi reveals Suriia Das’s legal case to challenge CPF Board resolved

International human rights lawyer M Ravi took to his Facebook page today (15 July) to announce that the legal case that he filed on behalf of Suriia Das “to challenge the CPF Board is now being amicably resolved with the Board”.

“We have informed the court at the Pre Trial Conference this morning that the case is being withdrawn. We would like to wish the couple the very best and will pray for recovery,” the lawyer wrote.

Last Wednesday, Mr Ravi revealed that he has filed a case in the High Court for Suriia to allow him to use his CPF savings from his Ordinary and Special accounts for his wife’s medical treatment.

Suriia’s case first gained prominence last week, Monday (8 July), when the lawyer uploaded a video on his personal video channel called RAVIsion highlighting how CPF Board denied the man’s request to allow the CPF savings in his Ordinary and Special accounts to be transferred to his cancer-stricken wife’s (Sarojini Jayapal) Medisave account.

This is so the couple can use the money to pay for further treatment and medical expenses that had occurred as his wife was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2016.

They had to resort to this move because the couple’s Medisave accounts had been completely used up for Sarojini’s medical expenses.

Looking at this situation, Mr Ravi said that this case engages Section 18D of the CPF Act which allows a CPF member (like Suriia) to transfer a portion of his fund from the Ordinary and Special accounts to his loved one’s account. However, there’s a catch here because according to the CPF Board’s policy, the money can only be transferred to someone who is 55 years of age and above.

However, Sarojini is only 47 years old.

Following that, on Friday (12 July), CPF Board responded to this case and revealed the amount of fund paid to her since her diagnosis.

“In sum, arising from Mdm Sarojini’s illness, CPF-allowed insurance schemes have paid out a total of about S$510,000 to date, while S$34,000 has been withdrawn from the CPF accounts of both Mdm Sarojini and Mr Suriia Das,” said the CPF Board.

It also clarified the allegations that the couple was “forced to seek treatment at Parkway Cancer Centre (PCC) and Mount Elizabeth Hospital (MEH) and not the National University Hospital (NUH) because those were the only medical institutions that gave her the hope that she will survive”.

Earlier, Sarojini said that she had chosen to receive her treatment at Mount Elizabeth Hospital instead of at public hospitals, as only the private hospital had given her some reassurance that her condition could improve.

However, the CPF Board did not appear to address the issue raised by Mr Ravi regarding its alleged reluctance to allow his client to withdraw funds from his Ordinary and Special Accounts under such pressing circumstances before Sarojini turns 55, given that Sarojini is suffering from late-stage cancer and is racing against time in terms of obtaining consistent treatment, and that Suriia might be left with no other options in the event that MediFund is insufficient.

Following CPF Board’s response, many netizens slammed the couple as they opined that the duo behaved in an entitled manner since they opted to go to private hospitals and not public ones.

As such, Suriia defended his decision to continue Sarojini’s treatment at MEH, reiterating that only the private hospital had given them some hope that his wife’s condition could improve.

Suriia also continued to demand answers from the CPF Board as to why it has rejected his request to withdraw money from his Ordinary account to fund Sarojini’s treatment, given that her cancer is currently at the advanced metastasis stage and that she is racing against time in her treatment process.