The latest move by the PAP Government to force Singaporeans to buy annuities is yet another despicable attempt to withhold the people’s hard-earned CPF savings.
Already the Minimum Sum Scheme allows the Government to retain the citizens' retirement funds. Now the PAP wants to compel Singaporeans to buy annuity, making it even harder for them to survive their retirement years.
The annuity proposal is not a solution. It is a ploy. A ploy thought up by the PAP Government to strengthen its hold on CPF funds – funds that it then uses for its business ventures which are not transparent or accountable.
Worse, the ministers then use these businesses to tout their commercial prowess and demand that they be paid million-dollar salaries.
Let us be absolutely clear: The fact that Singaporeans do not and will not have enough funds to retire on is not because they are bad managers of their money and therefore need yet more Government intervention and supervision.
The fact that study after study shows Singaporeans having the highest savings rate in the world and yet retire as paupers point to one and only one conclusion: That their plight is a result of willful mismanagement of this Government.
The problem of insufficient retirement funds stems from the glaring fact that HDB flats are vacuuming up CPF savings.
For the overwhelming majority of the people who cannot afford private property, the HDB is the only means of housing. With the prices of the flats at current levels Singaporeans have had no choice but to use their retirement savings to pay for the monthly leases.
Worse, like most other public matters in this country, the cost of building the flats are kept secret. Then when the PAP wants to upgrade the flats and use them as threats during elections, they make the people dip more into their CPF to pay for the refurbishment.
Is it a surprise then that Singaporeans have little to live on when they retire?
This is a recurring nightmare for Singaporeans. The people are forced to bear the brunt of "solutions” to problems created by the PAP Government, problems that are wholly avoidable if not for the greed and short-sightedness of this Government.
The Stop-At-Two policy is another example where for years the Government introduced draconian measures to curtail the reproductive rate of the population only to discover that Singaporeans were not replacing themselves adequately. The "solution”? The Foreign Talent Policy.
The measure has flooded society with foreign workers and forced locals to compete with them for unconscionably low wages.
Such Government-say-people-do-with-no-questions-asked nonsense must stop. And the only way to stop it is for Singaporeans to exercise their freedoms of speech and assembly to send an unmistakable message to the PAP that they refuse to be fleeced and milked any longer.
Singaporeans must remember that democracy makes good economic sense, that is, without our political rights, there can be no economic rights.
Chee Soon Juan
Singapore Democratic Party
(24 Aug 2007)