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CPF board disallows husband from using his funds for his wife’s cancer treatment, human rights lawyer steps in to help

The CPF Board’s policy is that it allows for the transfer to be made if the person is above 55 years of age; Sarojini Jayapal is 47, the couple is seeking redress through human rights lawyer M. Ravi

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The Board has allegedly denied a husband’s requests to use funds from his Ordinary Account (OA) and Special Account (SA) for his wife’s cancer treatment after depleting all of their MediSave funds.

47 year-old Sarojini Jayapal suffers from Stage 4 Ovarian cancer which was diagnosed in 2016.

In an interview with RAVision, an international human rights law broadcast channel by , the couple speak about how they have exhausted just about all other options to fund Sarojini’s treatment.

Sarojini said that she was devastated when she found out about her condition.

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“I didn’t know that I was going through this. But now I’m hoping because of all the love around me…, I want to survive”.

However, the couple’s funds have been drained trying to fund existing treatments and hospital stays. They add that both her and her husband’s MediSave funds have been completely depleted.

Sarojini adds that she is seeking treatment at Mount Elizabeth Hospital, not because of any luxuries, but because they are the only ones who have offered her hope in terms of a cure.

When Sarojini and her husband Suriia Das went to the National University Hospital (NUH) for a second opinion, they were turned away.

Suriia Das works as an Operations Manager, and has resorted to borrowing money from moneylenders, his family, friends and even from his company.

When speaking to M Ravi, a Human Rights lawyer who has offered to help the couple pro bono, he told TISG that not to help the couple would simply be unconscionable.

The lawyer from Carson Law Chambers said that “This case engages section 18(d) of the CPF Act which allows, for example, a CPF member like Suriia to transfer a portion of his monies from his Ordinary and Special accounts to his loved one’s account”.

However, he added, “this discretion is subject to the CPF Board’s policy that it allows only for the transfer to be made to someone, or the loved one, to be of 55-years of age and above”.

According to him, “to impose a minimum age like in this case of a loved one suffering from cancer would be irrational in the administrative law sense and hence the policy is unlawful”.

Mr Ravi also opined that this policy deprives Sarojini of her right to life guaranteed under Article 9 of the Constitution.

TISG has reached out to the CPF Board for comment and clarification. /TISG

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