Sunday, 8 June 2014

#ReturnOurCPF @ Hong Lim Park


CPF protest at Hong Lim Park sees crowd size of 6,000: organisers
Yahoo Newsroom - Over a hundred people spotted at Hong Lim Park for the #ReturnOurCPF protest on Saturday

Thousands of Singaporeans attended the “Return Our CPF” protest held at Hong Lim Park on Saturday, calling for greater transparency and flexibility in the CPF system.

Organised by blogger and activist Han Hui Hui, backed up by volunteers, the event saw higher-than-usual attendance and support, being held amid the ongoing suit between Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and blogger Roy Ngerng.

By 5pm, more than 2,000 dotted the green in the area surrounding the stage, with scores more hiding from the sun in the surrounding shaded footpaths, field areas and even a nearby overhead bridge. Han estimated at the close of the protest at about 6:30pm that the crowd size had grown to 6,000.

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Pension fears prompt rare protest in tightly regimented Singapore


Singapore witnessed one of its biggest protests at the weekend, over the fate of hard-earned pension savings, throwing a spotlight on one of the most sensitive political issues facing the tightly regimented city-state.

Having enough to live on in old age is a big source of concern in Singapore, one of the world’s most expensive countries, with the number of people over 65 projected to triple to as many as 900,000 by 2030.

A falling birth rate means there will be a proportionately smaller pool of working age people to support them.

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Protesters Assail Singapore Pension System
Demonstrators during a protest at the Speakers' Corner at Hong Lim Park on Saturday in Singapore, where protesters demanded greater transparency and accountability on how the state-pension monies are being managed

Roughly 2,000 people protested against perceived inadequacies in Singapore's state-run pension system, signaling rising discontent over retirement savings in this city-state.

The demonstration on Saturday was one of the largest-ever shows of public dissent in tightly regulated Singapore, where the governing People's Action Party has seen its parliamentary dominance ebb in recent years with an increasingly vocal electorate seeking more steps to quell socioeconomic pressures.

Protesters cheered as a half-dozen speakers called on the government to improve the Central Provident Fund, or CPF, the state-run pension system that many lower- and middle-income Singaporeans say lacks transparency and fails to meet their retirement needs.

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Concerns Grow Over Singapore Pension System

Protesters at a rally on June 7, 2014 in Singapore after the government said it would raise the minimum retirement-savings threshold. The demonstration involving more than 2,000 people was one of the largest shows of public dissent in Singapore. European Pressphoto Agency


A weekend protest over perceived shortcomings in Singapore's state-run pension system has illuminated widening concern among citizens over the inadequacy of their retirement savings.

Saturday's demonstration—involving more than 2,000 people—was one of the largest shows of public dissent in tightly regulated Singapore, where the governing People's Action Party has seen its parliamentary dominance recede in recent years amid rising socioeconomic pressures.

Political analysts say the protest could pressure the government to undertake bolder reforms to alleviate citizens' concerns over widening income disparities and rising living costs, as well as quell festering grievances against the Central Provident Fund, or CPF, the state-run pension plan.

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Pension fears prompt rare protest in tightly regimented Singapore

Singapore witnessed one of its biggest protests at the weekend, over the fate of hard-earned pension savings, throwing a spotlight on one of the most sensitive political issues facing the tightly regimented city-state.

Having enough to live on in old age is a big source of concern in Singapore, one of the world's most expensive countries, with the number of people over 65 projected to triple to as many as 900,000 by 2030.

A falling birth rate means there will be a proportionately smaller pool of working age people to support them.

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Singapore Grapples With Protests Over Pension System

Some 2,000 people took to the streets this past Saturday to voice displeasure over perceived inadequacies in the nation’s pension system. The protests were held at Hong Lim Park, the only place in Singapore where protests are generally tolerated, and attracted supporters of various ages. The protests were the largest so far this year.

Singapore’s CPF system is rather austere by global standards, though this austerity has allowed the system to avoid the looming budget gaps and questions of financial stability that plague many of the more generous Western systems. Singapore has a retirement age of only 62 years old, though many people continue to work past that age due to inadequate savings.

Singapore’s CPF urges personal responsibility. Both employers and employees are required to contribute to the CPF, with the rates of contributions rising as high as 34.5 percent for younger workers and dropping to as low as 10 percent for employees near retirement. How much citizens receive per month in pay outs after they retire depends on how much they put in.


Pension fears prompt rare protest in tightly regimented Singapore

Critics of the Central Provident Fund (CPF), a mandatory saving system which people and their employers must contribute to while working, say they do not know enough about what happens to money they place in the scheme and that it should be bringing them higher returns.

“In Singapore, we have no transparency and we have no accountability,” said author and columnist Leong Sze Hian at the ‘Return Our CPF’ protest on Saturday which attracted about 2,000 people.

Most funds are invested in risk-free government securities. In the current low-interest rate environment, that means they currently pay the legislated minimum annual rate of 2.5%, or 4% for funds in an account used solely for retirement.

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Simmering anger in overrcrowded city-state puts PAP government in a quandary

Singapore is confronting the perils of please-all economics. Ageing citizens are pushing the government for bigger nest eggs and more subsidised healthcare and housing. There is also popular resentment against letting more foreigners in, and not much appetite for increasing the 7 percent consumption tax. Squaring this fiscal circle will be a long-term challenge.

Already, there's simmering anger in the city-state about overcrowded trains and costly public housing. About 2,000 people gathered recently to demand that the state-run retirement plan raise its 4 percent annual interest rate. People protested last year, too, when the government unveiled a plan to boost the resident population by 30 percent to 6.9 million by 2030, with immigration compensating for a drooping birth rate.

The multifaceted discontent puts Singapore's fiscally conservative government in a quandary. Expanding the economy - and the tax base - with less foreign labour will mean improving the productivity of the local workforce


OPINION: 58-year-old man speaks from the heart about CPF minimum sum

When I started to work in the society from the age of 21 after my national service. People in our generation have started to contribute to CPF when we started work and looking forward that this is our compulsory saving implemented by the country. We accepted the policy and started to save looking forward that when we reach the age of 55 we can have some money to give ourself some luxury such as travelling, have better food and buying our dream items. Unfortunately the policy keep changing and when I reach the age of 55 I will have to place S133,000.00 minimum sum with CPF for retirement.

After 55, I am still working and still contributing with no hope of getting this money back. I am not wealthy and I have 2 sons who are studying in the polytechnic but again another CPF policy deny me of using my miniumum sum to pay for their education. This is really unfair. I do not withdraw the money for luxury but for my sons education it is also not allow. What kind of policy is this and you say it is fair? I have spoken to CPF board numerous times but with no success. Now I am 58 years old and still have to struggle with 2 jobs to earn money not only to support the family but also worry about education fees for my children. On one hand I have CPF saving of that much and on the other hand I cannot use this money at all. I have to struggle with 2 jobs to meet this committments or if not my children will have no education.

Mr Prime Minister just look at your policy and tell me what to do. Sometimes I think that to die will solve all these problems. When I die my children will get to my CPF money and continue their education and my responsibility is over. Just look at the FOXCOMM news that workers commit suicide to get money from the company for their poor family at home. Now our CPF policy is you die then you can get your CPF money. We work and we save. MY FATHER ALSO DON'T CONTROL MY MONEY AND HOW COME I HAVE TO LET THE GOVERNMENT CONTROL MY MONEY. We are old and we do not know how many more years we have. Please give back our money like a gentlemen which you have kept it for us for 35 years. WHY ARE YOU HOLDING ON TO OUR MONEY. LINK

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ORGANISERS ESTIMATE OVER 6000 SINGAPOREANS ATTENDED #RETURNOURCPF PROTEST

The protest held at Hong Lim Park this afternoon attracted a crowd of thousands of unhappy Singaporeans who gathered to call for more transparency and flexibility in the CPF system.

Organisers estimate that about 6000 Singaporeans turned up for the protest which was organised by blogger and activist Han Hui Hui.

People gathered with many placards in the green field with hundred more in the surrounding footpaths and overhead bridge to escape the sun.

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Singaporeans Protest Against Central Provident Fund (CPF) scheme

SINGAPORE - JUNE 07: (Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)

Roy Ngerng speaks during the 'Return Our CPF' protest at the Speakers' Corner at Hong Lim Park on June 7, 2014 in Singapore.

Roy Ngerng is locked in a legal dispute with the Prime Minister of Singapore about an alleged defamatory article on the Singaporeans' CPF saving posted by Roy. Through crowd funding, Roy has managed to raise more than $90,000 for his legal defence fund within a week

The protest was staged to demand greater transparency and accountability from the government on how the CPF monies is being utilized.

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ROY NGERNG’S SPEECH AT #RETURNOURCPF: I BELIEVE IN A NEW, UNITED SINGAPORE

Singapore at a Crossroads Today

Singapore has come a long way in our country’s history. Today, we are at a crossroads. How can our country continue to grow while our people will be taken care of, protected and be free.

As citizens who care for our country, as Singaporeans who have a stake in our country, it is our birthright, and it is our responsibility to speak up, and voice out so that we can create solutions for our country and better not only our lives, but that of our fellowmen.

After nearly 50 years, Singapore might have a First World economy and we have First World costs. But do we have a First World government? Do we have First World lives? Today, many Singaporeans struggle with our lives, earning the lowest wages among the high-income countries even as Singapore has become the most expensive place to live in the world. Singaporeans struggle to make ends meet and fear that we do not have enough to use.

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CPF protest attracts 6,000 (more like 2 to 3000)

I noticed many of those who had turned up were older people. This is only understandable. They want their money back. In the end Dr. Toh Chin Chye was right and he spoke for the majority of CPF members.

Don't see any report of this event in the mainstream media. Looks like unless the foreign media report this, there is going to be a blackout in the local media. This is a stupid as burying your head in the sand isn't it?

WSJ covered and reported on the event but I can't go beyond the preview since I had canceled my subscription. "Bo pian" MSM must also feature this event albeit as inconspicuously as possible.

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"Return Our CPF" protest at Hong Lim Park
Blogger Roy Ngerng speaking at the "Return Our CPF" protest

There was a protest on Saturday at Hong Lim Park against the Central Provident Fund's (CPF) Minimum Sum Scheme. Speakers at the event also called for better returns on CPF monies.

The line-up of speakers at the "Return Our CPF" protest included former Presidential candidate Tan Kin Lian, as well as Reform Party chief Kenneth Jeyaretnam.

Also at the protest was blogger Roy Ngerng, who is currently involved in a defamation suit by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong after he alleged in a blogpost that Mr Lee misappropriated CPF savings.



#ReturnOurCPF @ Hong Lim Park – An added significance


Singapore’s Speakers’ Corner has seen some momentous events being held – public transport fares protest, a gathering of a thousand minibonds investors who lost their investments in the toxic financial products, a record-breaking 5,000-strong crowd at last year’s May Day protest.

But none of these will have the significance which the next event at Hong Lim Park will have tomorrow, 7 June.

The event, named #ReturnOurCPF, is being organised by Ms Han Hui Hui and Mr Leong Sze Hian.

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Snapshot: Huge turnout at Hong Lim Park for #ReturnOurCPF rally despite the scorching weather

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RETURN OUR CPF PROTEST AT HONG LIM PARK JUNE 7 4PM

On 8 May 2014, the Central Provident Fund Board, a statutory board under the Ministry of Manpower, released the news that the Minimum Sum that will apply to CPF members who turn 55 between 1 July 2014 and 30 June 2015 is $155,000.

In addition, the Medisave Minimum Sum will be raised to $43,500 from $40,500. A member may need to have both these amounts before any excess funds can be withdrawn.
At a time when Singapore is ranked as the most expensive place to live in the world, where Singaporeans yet continue to receive the lowest wages among the high-income countries, CPF is akin to an additional tax on our income.

Historically, we may have the lowest real rate of return of all national pension funds in the world.An estimated only 1 in 8 Singaporeans who reach age 55, were able to meet the CPF Minimum Sum and Medisave Minimum Sum, entirely in cash from their CPF accounts.

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Return our CPF: 7 June 4pm @ Hong Lim Park (revisited)

On 8 May 2014, the Central Provident Fund Board, a statutory board under the Ministry of Manpower, released the news that the Minimum Sum that will apply to CPF members who turn 55 between 1 July 2014 and 30 June 2015 is $155,000.

In addition, the Medisave Minimum Sum will be raised to $43,500 from $40,500. A member may need to have both these amounts before any excess funds can be withdrawn.

At a time when Singapore is ranked as the most expensive place to live in the world, where Singaporeans yet continue to receive the lowest wages among the high-income countries, CPF is akin to an additional tax on our income.

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Photo essay: 3 – 4K attend CPF rally

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#ReturnOurCPF

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Top 10 Quotable Quotes from the Return Our CPF Rally


In case you didn’t attend the Return our CPF rally, and need some smart-ass wisecracks to 1. show off to you friends, 2. answer some smart-asses who don’t agree with the whole Return our CPF concept, or 3. pick up politically-motivated young ladies, here’s a handy list of Top 10 quotable quotes from the rally. Just don’t be too smug when you spout them, or you’ll risk coming across as a Chia Tye Poh-esque pseudo-Communist (can kena jail, ok).

Ariffin Sha
“This is a new beginning. If we hold on to our unity, there will be no force in the world that can take it from us”
“If Singapore doesn’t belong to everyone, we might as well be called an international island.”
Vincent Wijeysingha
“Why do we pay our government millions of dollars to sue us?”
“No one has ever brought about change by asking permission from the government”
Leong Sze Hian
“No other media in the world would be stupid enough to say Medishield Life is the best thing in the world.”
“You all so poor thing…”
Han Hui Hui
“When you grow old, they (the PAP government) say sell your house and and pay your medical bills!”
“Is this (Singapore) a country, or a company?
Roy Ngerng
“Show us the records! Tell us the truth. Be honest to Singaporeans.”
“It’s time to awaken. It’s time to rise. It’s time to take control… The time for change is now.”
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'Return Our CPF' protest takes place at Hong Lim Park

A protest, which aims to gather support for a more "transparent" and “accountable” Central Provident Fund (CPF) system, took place at Hong Lim Park on Saturday afternoon.

Speakers such as activist and blogger Han Hui Hui and Roy Ngerng as well as human rights lawyer M Ravi were among the list of people speaking at the event, before a crowd of over a thousand who came ready with placards and posters.

Read more about the protest in our story here, and we bring you pictures from the event here.

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The Heart Truths of Libel Suits

– Koh’s Space: Hong Lim Park Rally “Return Our CPF”

– Wise Mental King: The many expressions of blogger Roy Ngerng
– My Singapore News: Hsien Loong versus Roy Ngerng, a case he cannot lose
– Yahoo! SG: Organisers claim protest drew 6K despite initial drizzle, blazing sun
– TOC: “Return Our CPF” protest – the people have spoken
– SCMPost: Southeast Asian leaders flounder in the face of online criticism
– Bertha Harian: Are you all worked up – yet?
– Guanyinmiao’s Musings: The Man Of The Protest Moment
– Toys of Cynical Investor: TRE’s readers vitriol on a sneer on Roy & his supporters
– 2econdsight: PM Lee vs Roy – A Contrarian Approach Part II
– ShahSalimat: Look closer to find constructive politics among disgruntle protesters
– Alpha Male Syndrome: Time for the government to listen seriously?
– Likedatosocanmeh: No turning back after 7 June 2014
– New Nation: Protester wakes up to find his CPF monies returned to him

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76 years old lady begged Hri Kumar to help her get CPF money back

This is not a reality show. This is the tears of a spinster born in the year of 1938 who was devastated when she discovered the G took her savings to pay off her land tax @Bt Brown. I don't think "they" dare to upload this video to the public. But I do! This is my recording of the truth, nothing but the truth & in tears! Can u feel her sorrows?

Allow me to air my anger about the lady in "sexy Ch... See More

— feeling sad with 李寧國, 司馬平, Eddie NgRobert TehErnest Pak, John Loh, Ang Yong Guan,Roy Ngerng Yi LingLim OoTung Hee LimLim WendyJack Lee, Jason Lee, Lim Wee and Chee Soon Juan at CPF - An Honest Conversation: Public Dialogue with Thomson-Toa Payoh Residents.

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Give Me Back My Money

The 76 year old spinster must have been frugal enough to set aside a portion of her teacher salary to pay for her terrace house, assuming she owns the property. Decades ago, such units could have been selling at a fraction of present day prices. A friend sold off her father's spacious house at the old teacher's estate after he passed on, and could only afford a tiny condominium unit with the proceeds.

She's not the only one who is asset rich, cash poor. Plaintively, the senior citizen had begged, "“What I want is my money back and I want to arrange for my funeral and I want to arrange for my rice and I want to arrange for a nice settlement." She articulated what we now see as a truism, the three letters for our retirement money spell Coffin Provision Fund.

“That’s all I want. Give me back my money. CPF, give me back my money. And make it as soon as possible. Because 76, I won’t be able to live (too long),” she added. If we are in her shoes, we too would like to spend the final hours on our own bed, rather than the tented facilities of our overcrowded public hospitals.