Thursday, 26 June 2014

Labour chief Lim Swee Say clarifies CPF comments

From LIM SWEE SAY, SECRETARY-GENERAL, NATIONAL TRADES UNION CONGRESS

I refer to the article, "Prepare for retirement 'by using less CPF money when young'" (23 June).

The article para-phrased my comments and wrote, "The best way for Singaporeans to prepare for retirement is to use less of their Central Provident Fund (CPF) money when they are young." It gave the impression that I have urged Singaporeans not to use their CPF monies before retirement for any purpose including housing, healthcare and education for our children.

This is incorrect.


NTUC Secretary-General Lim Swee Say clarifies a Channel NewsAsia report which quoted him on Sunday (June 22)
NTUC Secretary-General Lim Swee Say

As the third point was reported out of context, I reproduce the relevant text of my interview here:

"Thirdly, the money is mainly for your retirement purpose. Besides housing, healthcare and education for your children, a very important part of CPF is to cater for retirement. So, for every dollar, if you can defer the use of the dollar, it is better to defer the use of the dollar when you are still young. For example, instead of thinking of whether you can spend your CPF savings at the age of 55, I think we should think about how we should help our Singaporeans remain employed, to continue to earn a good living, a good job and at the same time, to continue to contribute to the CPF. Because the more money you have in your CPF and the longer you defer the use of the CPF, the more you will have for retirement, as all of us are living longer and longer. So, these are the three basic points: firstly, the CPF is your money, no one can take away from you. Secondly, your money is 100% safe. Thirdly, the less you make use of your money when you are young, the more money you will have for retirement."

It is clear in this context that 'young' refers to those who are aged 55 and "less use" of the CPF money refers to the CPF cash withdrawal for purposes other than housing, healthcare and education for the children.


Use less CPF money to prepare for retirement: labour chief

The best way for Singaporeans to prepare for retirement is to use less of their Central Provident Fund (CPF) money when they are young.


Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Lim Swee Say said this will ensure the current level of CPF payout can be maintained over time, and not be eroded by inflation.

Mr Lim, who is also the labour chief, made that point when speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the closing of the Singapore Model Parliament on Sunday.

read more

Defer CPF cash withdrawals to prepare for retirement: Labour Chief

Singaporeans are living longer, and should consider deferring cash withdrawals from their Central Provident Fund (CPF) when they turn 55 in order to better prepare for their retirement.

This point was made by Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Lim Swee Say, who said that besides housing, healthcare and education for children, Singaporeans' CPF money is meant mainly for their retirement purposes.

He said that deferring the cash withdrawals for uses other than housing, healthcare and education will ensure the current level of CPF payout can be maintained over time, and not be eroded by inflation.


Prepare for retirement ‘by using less CPF money when young’

The best way for Singaporeans to prepare for retirement is to use less of their Central Provident Fund (CPF) money when they are young. Mr Lim Swee Say, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, said this will ensure the current level of CPF payout can be maintained over time and not be eroded by inflation.

Mr Lim, who is also the labour chief, made that point when speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the closing of the Singapore Model Parliament yesterday.

At the event, Mr Lim shared his experience with students when he was a Member of Parliament (MP) debating policies at the old Parliament House. One policy that has received much attention recently is the CPF.

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LIM SWEE SAY WRITES TO CHANNEL NEWS ASIA TO CLARIFY BUT LEAVES MORE CONFUSED


Lim Swee Say, the PAP MP and Minister without Portfolio, has written in a clarification to Channel News Asia which he said has misreported him on the issue of CPF yesterday.

In an interview yesterday with the State-owned news channel, the gaffe-prone Minister was quoted as calling on Singaporeans to prepare for retirement by "using less CPF money when young".

This remarks subsequently went viral on the internet with many citing it as further proof of the lack of intelligence of the Minister.



Mr Lim Swee Say’s statements on CPF do not make any sense

Mr Lim Swee Say spoke about the CPF at the Singapore Model Parliament debates held last week. However, the statements he made do not make any sense, and certain points he made about the CPF being risk free also deserve a rebuttal.

Firstly, Mr Lim said that people should use less of their CPF money when they are young, and they should also try to defer drawing down their CPF when they reach the age of 55. These statements were made in BOTH the original press interview as well as the clarification that he later sent to the media (see here).

However, Mr Lim also asserts that the CPF is for housing, healthcare and education, in addition to serving retirement needs. He makes this assertion in the context of assuring Singaporeans that “CPF is your money“. Again, this point is repeated in BOTH the media interview as well as his subsequent clarification.


Uncle Swee Say doesn’t get it re CPF?

It’s incredible but I must accept it as the awful truth for why else would Mr Lim Swee Say give this comment on the ongoing CPF controversy?

Here is what he said: “Instead of thinking about whether you can spend your savings in the CPF at the age of 55, I think we should think about how can we help our Singaporeans to continue to remain employed, to continue to earn a good living, continue to have good jobs, and at the same time to continue to contribute to the CPF because the more money they have in CPF, the longer they defer the use of the CPF — this will mean they will have more for retirement.”

Folks, I think the whole kuffle-fle re the CPF isn’t about staying on in the workforce after age 55 but how members could get out of the workforce with their CPF money to goyang kaki. Of course those who are fretting that they don’t have enough for their minimum sum and yet want to empty their CPF kitty are living in a parallel universe.


Lim Swee Say: Clarifying as a strategy to be understood

LSS clarifies a CNA report which "misquoted" him on Sunday. I wasn't interested in this story until this clumsy communicator clarifies. This is really funny because the clarification and the original misquote were basically the same message. So what's there to clarify except that readers have misunderstood LSS and he felt the need to say it again. You can't blame us so you blame CNA? So he repeats himself under the guise of "clarifying" begging for a chance to be understood. 

The problem with LSS and some of his colleagues is that they have now been stuck with the reputation for talking stupid. Prima facie there are enough readers and listeners who were just mistakenly tuning in to what inanity is coming from him eh to make him worry.

Cut the chap some slack, politicians especially to the north and south and nearly everywhere are far more stupid.


What Lim Swee Say Was Really Trying To Say Regarding CPF


It’s tough to be a politician nowadays. Say something well meaning and it gets torn apart in seconds. On the bright side, it does lend itself to some shining examples of creativity, like how 55 years old is the new 21 (ok couldn’t help myself there). Well, Lim Swee Say’s latest statement on the use of CPF has drawn its share of detractors, but is it really all that bad? We take a look here:

Whilst speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the closing of the Singapore Model Parliament on 22 June, Mr Lim, who is also the Labour Chief, made the point that Singaporeans are living longer, and should consider refraining from making cash withdrawals from their Central Provident Fund (CPF) when they turn 55 in order to better prepare for their retirement.

Sounds all good and logical? What sparked a little controversy were his later comments toChannelNewsAsia (which has since been corrected) calling on Singaporeans to prepare for retirement by “using less CPF money when young”, and then saying that by “young”, he meant people who were 55 years old.

Media Blunder

No, this is not the usual media blunder where the interviewee makes the blunder. This time round it is the interviewer.

Last night CNA published an article quoting “Use Less CPF money to prepare for retirement: Labour chief”

Immediately the social media responded with fiery storm drawing many criticism on Labour Chief Mr Lim Swee Say. Many questioned how and why could anyone use less CPF to prepare for retirement?


Mr Lim Swee Say Clarifying

After reading Mr Lim's clarification, I realised that Channel News Asia was not entirely wrong in paraphrasing.

Sometimes I'm wondering if the sky high salaries are alienating our ministers from the citizens. If given a choice, who want to use CPF to pay for housing. For many, it is not possible to save much cash especially if they have many mouths to feed. "Firstly, CPF is your money. Nobody can take away that money from you."

I'm don't really believe the above statement since the government is making it harder for Singaporeans to withdraw the CPF money. First you can withdraw at 55, then 60, 62 and 65 years old. I'm not sure really how old I can withdraw considering the fact they are always changing the goalpost and making me feel disheartened. Then I read that we are not supposed to withdraw the medisave minimum sum. If this is really my money, why are you implementing all these unreasonable rules.


Lim Swee Say at his nonsensical best

ST headline “CPF money 100% safe: Swee Say” caught my eye. I knew anything related to Lim Swee Say, minister with zero portfolio with a fetish for DTF toothpicks, would be interesting. The more our government emphasises the ‘safety’ of CPF monies in the absence of transparency, the moreCPF members should worry.

Swee Say also said our “CPF is 100% safe and is protected against events like the global financial crisis”. This is clearly false as the market value of CPF investments in GIC were decimated during the crisis.

It is almost impossible to believe a confused cabinet minister could have made such comments. But then again, coming from Lim Swee Say, nothing is impossible.


Zorro Lim: Use Less CPF Money to Prepare for Retirement
At a community event yesterday (22 Jun), Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Labour Chief Lim Swee Say came up with a new solution for CPF members to beat inflation

He told the reporters that the best way for Singaporeans to prepare for retirement is to use less of their CPF money when they are young.

This will ensure the current level of CPF payout can be maintained over time, and not be eroded by inflation, he said.

It’s a strange idea coming from our Labour Chief. Using less CPF money means leaving the money with CPF board, which in the case of OA, will earn only 2.5%. Inflation rate for the last few years already exceeded 2.5% (except last year, which barely covered the 2.4% inflation rate) [Link]:

read more

LIM SWEE SAY: TO RETIRE COMFORTABLY, YOU SHOULD WORK LONGER AND NOT USE YOUR CPF


Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Lim Swee Say told Channel News Asia that Singaporeans shouldn't spend their CPF savings when they are younger so that they can have enough for their retirement.

He pointed out that instead of withdrawing at 55, people should continue working and deferring withdrawal from their CPF so that they will have more when they retire.

Mr Lim was speaking to reporters at the sidelines of a Singapore Model Parliament where students take on roles as MPs to try debating in a mock parliament.

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CPF money 100% safe: Lim Swee Say

"(The) money with CPF... was not only safe, but continued to earn risk-free interest," Mr Lim told reporters on the sidelines of a mock parliamentary debate session for students at The Arts House. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Lim Swee Say yesterday assured Singaporeans that their money in the Central Provident Fund (CPF) was "100 per cent safe".

While many investments had been lost during the global financial crisis, he pointed out, CPF had still continued to earn interest then.

"(The) money with CPF... was not only safe, but continued to earn risk-free interest," he told reporters on the sidelines of a mock parliamentary debate session for students at The Arts House.

read more

Spot The Difference


The linguistically challenged minister cried foul when Channel Newsasia quoted him saying:
“The best way for Singaporeans to prepare for retirement is to use less of their Central Provident Fund (CPF) money when they are young.”

It sounds so perfectly logical until Lim Swee Say insisted he was misquoted, and provided his original intended text: "... the less you make use of your money when you are young, the more money you will have for retirement."

For the less devious, this may look like a version of the old kids' game of trying to spot the differences in two seemingly identical representations. Lim highlighted his unique mindset when he expanded:
"It is clear in this context that ‘young’ refers to those who are aged 55."


CPF: The cock that Swee Say talks

The best way for Singaporeans to prepare for retirement is to use less of their Central Provident Fund (CPF) money when they are young. Mr Lim Swee Say, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, said this will ensure the current level of CPF payout can be maintained over time and not be eroded by inflation.

Mr Lim, who is also the labour chief, made that point when speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the closing of the Singapore Model Parliament yesterday. (23 Jan 2014). He later issued a clarification saying “that housing, healthcare and education for the children” were excluded from his spending comments, saying the constructive, nation-building media had misreported him.

Even with the clarification, he was talking rubbish, showing how clueless the nTUC minister was with the life of his ordinary members.

read more

OPINION: Mr Lim Swee Say’s statements on CPF do not make any sense


Firstly, Mr Lim said that people should use less of their CPF money when they are young, and they should also try to defer drawing down their CPF when they reach the age of 55. These statements were made in BOTH the original press interview as well as the clarification that he later sent to the media (see here).

However, Mr Lim also asserts that the CPF is for housing, healthcare and education, in addition to serving retirement needs. He makes this assertion in the context of assuring Singaporeans that “CPF is your money“. Again, this point is repeated in BOTH the media interview as well as his subsequent clarification.

Why does this not make sense? If you want citizens to save more CPF money for retirement, then you should not be asking them to spend the CPF on so many needs including housing, healthcare and education simultaneously.

In other words, the CPF should NOT be turned into an escrow account to ensure that all Singaporeans pay for their expensive houses and medical bills from their own retirement savings, and in so doing relieve the state of the burden of caring for its citizen. Full story


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How to understand what Lim Swee Say is saying

5 Ways to Interpret Lim Swee Say’s latest CPF Gobbledegook

Minister in the PMO and Labour Chief Lim Swee Say’s latest statement about CPF has been feeding the flames of Mount Facebook since it was reported yesterday evening.

His easily-misinterpreted statement, delivered off-the-cuff on the sidelines of a Singapore Model Parliament event, has left many fuming, some puzzled, and others scrambling to defend the man.


read more

Govt’s handling of recent cases: Lim Swee Say

On 22 July, NTUC Chief, Lim Swee Say, was reported to have said that he likes the toothpicks from the Din Tai Fung restaurant, so much so that he “can never resist” to “pinch” half a box each time he visits the restaurant.

“They always serve in a pack,” he told reporters at BreadTalk Group’s new headquarters in Tai Seng. “And because I go there very early – 10.30 in the morning – always full right. And guess what? By the time I left, normally right, it’s half left. The other half is in my pocket.”

His remarks and admission drew criticisms from the public who chided him for displaying the worst traits of a “kiasu” Singaporean – one who hoards things and disregard others. While some of the criticisms were overboard, the gist of them is still valid – especially when one considers that the government has spent millions of dollars throughout the decades to inculcate and promote a “kind society”.

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Singapore Daily

– Sgpolitics.net: Mr Lim Swee Say’s statements on CPF do not make any sense
– Food Fuels Me to Talk: Uncle Swee Say doesn’t get it re CPF?
– Blogging for Myself: Lim Swee Say: Clarifying as a strategy to be understood
– SG Hard Truth: Media Blunder
– Just Speaking My Mind: Mr Lim Swee Say Clarifying
– Singapore Notes: Spot The Difference
– Likedatosocanmeh: CPF – Lim Swee Say at his nonsensical best!
– Gintai_昇泰: CPF is really a big headache!
– Musings From the Lion City: It’s Not Our Money
– My Spore News: CPF – Between the devil and the deep blue sea
– SingaporeNew Policy Thinking: What we really need to fix about the CPF
– Aspirant SG: 5 Things You Should Know About CPF Medishield Life
– Tots of Cynical Investor: Something for “Free my CPF”, cyber warriors to reflect on
– Transitioning.org: Online interview: CPF saga and its your money
– Online Citizen: CNA report gives incorrect impression: Lim Swee Say

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