On Friday (12 July), the Central Provident Fund Board (CPFB) took to its Facebook to respond to claims made by Suriia Das regarding how he was not allowed to use his CPF savings from his Ordinary and Special accounts for his wife’s medical treatment.
His wife, Sarojini Jayapal, 47, was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer in 2016.
TOC earlier highlighted Suriia’s plight after international human rights lawyer M Ravi, who is representing the man, uploaded a video of the couple talking about Sarojini’s illness and how Suriia’s request to allow his fund in his Ordinary and Special accounts to be transferred to his wife’s Medisave account was denied.
In CPF Board’s post, it explained that the National University Hospital (NUH) “offered an open appointment date should the family decide to transfer to NUH for subsidised care” despite her poor prognosis, as opposed to the couple’s claim that they opted to seek treatment at Mount Elizabeth Hospital (MEH) because only MEH and Parkway Cancer Centre (PCC) “gave her the hope that she will survive”.
Apart from that, CPFB also laid out in details the amount of fund paid to her since her diagnosis.
“Together with MediShield Life, health insurance has paid out over S$300,000 to date, covering close to 90% of her medical bills at PCC and MEH. Mdm Sarojini has also been receiving S$1,100 per month under ElderShield and ElderShield supplement plans since October 2017, amounting to about S$23,000,” said the Board.
It added, “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illness, CPF-allowed insurance schemes have paid out a total of about S$510,000 to date, while S$34,000 has been withdrawn from the CPF accounts of both Mdm Sarojini and Mr Suriia Das”.
CPFB’s post has garnered over 500 comments and 1,000 shares.
In the comment section of the post, many netizens slammed the couple stating that they’re “ungrateful”, “spreading falsehoods” and “self entitled citizen”. Some said that they took so much from the government and continue to complain, while other mentioned that they are “having doubt about the whole story from his (Suriia) side”. One netizen even demanded that the couple apologise publicly to the ministries for their “useless accusations” as Singapore is the only country that can “get all the help needed from a government”.
Christopher Lim added that this is a case of “enjoy now and crack the head later”, indicating the couple’s decision to seek treatment at private institutes.
A bunch of online users also applauded CPF Board for their great job at explaining the whole situation. They noted that CPFB gave an “excelled, very clear and timely explanation” so the public knows what actually happened, instead of hearing just one side of the coin.
Jack Sim felt that Suriia’s “comments are unfair to the Government. After getting so much help, he still go to the internet and say such a thing.”
Following harsh comments by the public, Suriia also commented in the thread defending his point saying that he just want to use his CPF money to pay for his wife’s medical bills. However, instead of waiting for court hearing, CPFB had released a statement defending itself, while saying that the couple “are not truthful”. He also said that all the hate speeches that they’re receiving might actually make his wife “lose hope in fighting and give up”.
He added that he approached CPFB before to use his Ordinary account since his HDB flat is fully paid. “Now when it is going to court, they announce us as a not truthful and open the comment section to public and keep quiet even though there is lot of hurt speeches in it,” he wrote.
Just today, he wrote that CPF’s statement is misleading and further clarified that most of the funds for the medical bill came from AXA insurance and their Medisave funds.
However, some online users supported Suriia and said that most people will do everything in their power to save their loved ones as money can be earned, but not someone’s life. Plus, the CPF savings is his money so he has the right to use it the way he wants. They added that the 55 years age limit shouldn’t be applied and it’s not difficult for CPF to assess “such request on a case by cases basis”.