On 5 August, a woman named Yukumi Wu took to her Facebook to mention that her father, Mr Boo Meng Hock, went missing exactly 23 years ago.
In her post, Ms Wu noted that in all the years since her father went missing, the CPF Board has been deducting money from his MediShield account. She said there was no way to stop the deductions as the family don’t yet have a death certificate for Mr Boo. According to the records, he is still alive.
She then says, “I have kept his police report for 23 years! I don’t know whether in the new SPF system, still has his record as a missing person we filed 23 years ago?”
In response to her post, on 7 August, CPF wrote on its Facebook page saying that they empathise with the situation that the family is facing. However, CPF claims that their records show that no one from the family approached the CPF Board for assistance on the matter. In fact, CPF Board stated that they have in fact reached out to the family to explain the necessary steps to declare Mr Boo as deceased.
The Board added “In line with industry practice, CPFB treats an individual as being alive until the person has been registered as deceased with the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA).”
They go on to explain how a missing person can be registered as deceased with the ICA.
The Board then says that for the past 23 years, Mr Boo has been receiving various bonuses and vouchers such as the Pioneer Generation pay-outs, GST vouchers, MediSave top-ups, SG Bonus, GST credits (between 2007-2010), growth dividend (2008-2010), and the Grow and Share packages – all amounting to about S$15,000 in cash. All because they still consider him to be alive. The Board highlighted that these come up to more than the MediShield Life premium deductions of about S$7,300.
They end their post by urging the family to obtain a court order to declare Mr Boo as deceased and submit it to the ICA.
Following CPF Board’s explanation, many netizens commented in the post slamming Ms Wu. They said that she quietly collected the payouts given by CPF but still raised the issue over her missing dad’s premiums being deducted for 23 years.
Some even said her story is fake and it has misled the public, hence thanking CPF for clarifying the issue. Facebook user Watt WK asked Ms Wu to return all the payouts that she has received back to the Government.
Others said that Ms Wu should have immediately made a report to CPF Board after the family received the money. On the other hand, Lydia Fung said that the authorities should perhaps “first check the said bank joint alternate account holder of Mr Boo, as this pax would have used the money inclusive of cash for gst and pioneer generations, etc”.
Upon reading all the harsh comments from the public, Ms Wu finally responded in the comment thread, sharing her side of the story.
She said that it’s uncalled for people to assume that her family has taken their missing dad’s money and be silent about it. This is because she claims that CPF has not inform her where they have banked the money due to confidentiality.
“Up till now CPF still have let me know where they have banked in the money to or into my dad’s CPF account due to confidentiality. So how can you assume that we take the money??” she wrote.
Ms Wu, who was obviously upset reading all the comments from the online users, expressed that people will only know the pain that she is going through if they experience it themselves.
In an attempt to clarify her part of the story, Ms Wu said that she posted her original post solely to share her sentiment and want to get a closure as it was her dad’s 23rd anniversary of disappearance.
“My FB post it is just merely to share my sentiments and not to attacking CPF Board,” she wrote.
However, The Independent Singapore wrote an article about her post without her consent, she noted.
She again emphasised that she highlighted this story on Facebook not “to direct at CPF Board or SPF”, but solely to “obtain a Death Cert of my Dad” as her family didn’t know how to go about it and hoped someone can help them.
Ms Wu also explained that her family did reach out to their MP to seek help with the case. The MP had referred them to a lawyer but the legal fees was S$3000, and they would need an additional few thousand dollars to apply for a death certificate from the High Court. Unfortunately, she said that her family couldn’t afford it.
She also noted that they were not eligible for Legal Aid as their income is more than S$1000, which resulted to them not being qualified for it.
“So we put this on hold since there are so many procedures to follow and still hoping… and we didn’t want to face the reality since my Dad’s body hasn’t been found. Even he is really dead, but there is no proper burial for him,” she wrote.
Ms Wu also mentioned that her mother’s health is deteriorating now with slight dementia and she fears that she would not be able to remember anything later on, which will lead to grave repercussions.
As such, she said that she hopes everyone would stops speculating about them.
“Just for your info. my dad has already withdrew all this OA account when he reach the age of 55, what he left is only his Medisave account, so do you think we can withdraw and keep quiet? Even CPF Board didn’t want to reveal to me where they have banked the money unless I produced my Dad’s Death Cert,” she explained.