A forum letter writer has urged the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board to stop blaming the people for starting the rumour that the CPF Board may have changed the retirement sum Payout Eligibility Age (PEA) to 70 years old from 65 years old.
This untrue rumour arose last week when a picture of a letter sent by CPF Board to a senior citizen went viral online. The letter informed the 65-year-old member that he can receive higher payouts if he delays the start of his payouts and even states that he would only start receiving payouts when he turns 70, automatically by default, if he does not do anything.
Some netizens responding to the picture believed that the authorities have shifted the PEA to age 70. Clarifying that this isn’t true, CPF Board said in a statement that the PEA is age 65. It added, however, that automatic Retirement Sum Scheme payouts will only start at the age of 70 if CPF members do not ask for their payouts to commence at age 65.
This automatic payout arrangement that begins at age 70 took effect from January 2018 onwards, after the CPF Act was amended to allow for this in 2016.
CPF Board claims that setting the automatic payout arrangement to start at age 70 “helps to simplify the activation process for members so they can start to enjoy a retirement income from their CPF savings.” A CPF Board spokesman added that “members who defer the start of their payouts will benefit from getting more retirement savings with the attractive interest that they earn on their CPF savings.”
Singaporeans, however, remain unhappy and have asked why CPF Board did not set the automatic payout arrangement starting point to age 65 if all it wants to do is simplify the payout activation process.
In the midst of this, one Singaporean has asked CPF Board to stop blaming the people for starting the PEA rumour. In a forum letter published by the national broadsheet yesterday, Madam Quek Gek Soo said that CPF should change the default age to 65:
“If the payout is supposed to be at the age of 65, then that should be the default age, and anyone who wants a later payout should have to indicate to the CPF Board that they want it at a later age.”
She further asserted that “It is the CPF Board’s actions that have caused the people to once again say that the Government is trying to hold back the money of Singaporeans.” Read Madam Quek’s letter in full here.
Madam Quek’s views are shared among several Singaporeans, including ex-PAP MP Inderjit Singh. Last weekend, Mr Singh asserted that the current payout process “does not seem right…The baseline should be automatic withdrawal at 65 unless you choose to extend. Too many tweaks to the rules confuse people.”
The CPF Board is a statutory board under the Ministry of Manpower that is responsible for investing compulsory contributions that are made by Singaporeans and Permanent Residents into their CPF accounts. The Board is presently headed by former Chief of Navy, Ng Chee Peng, who now serves as chief executive of CPF Board.
Ng Chee Peng is the younger brother of PAP MP Ng Chee Meng. Besides serving as Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Ng Chee Meng also serves as secretary-general of the labour movement.