Monday, March 09, 2015

Mine, yours or theirs

There was this fantastic speech being made in the parliament concerning CPF which was lauded by our esteemed Prime minister, and can be found here
And that I was reading a post by a friend and I would just want to embellish some points.

There was some uproar caused by the following quote

In relation to the use of CPF money, we have heard proponents who say that the CPF monies is theirs. “It’s our money, it’s in our account, it’s our retirement money. I want it out, I will spend it anyway we want.” Fine. Is it our money? Our CPF savings are enhanced and forced CPF savings which are accumulated through our own deferred consumption, through co-payment by our employers and through top-ups from public funds. Is it really my private money? Do I have the right to spend it the way I would spend my own salary? I’m not entirely sure.

I know at the end of the day, that because I’m not the only person contributing to the fund, I cannot be the only person to call the shots as to how I am going to spend it. At the very least, I have a moral obligation to spend it wisely. Why do I say that? Because if I’m not judicious in my spending at the end of the day, who’s going to maintain me in my twilight years – the state? Who? Ultimately it means someone else is bearing it right, another taxpayer. So if I’m not judicious and I’m arguing this is my money, I’m not going to be responsible in my use and if I argue this is your money, you use it anyway you want – I’m not responsible as a citizen. – Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Chia Yong Yong

The first question here is about the ownership. I am wondering if Ms Chia was wondering if she was wondering about the fact that CPF was her own private money? If she has the rights to spend it the she want? if she can spend it like her own salary?

The first question here is about ownership. Is CPF really our own money?
using Singlish, I will say, it is "by right", your own money.
because, it is in name, your money. because like some labour chief once said, he saw his CPF contribution every month and he felt very rich. So, if it is not his, why will he felt rich?

But yet, it is as much my money like the Ang Bao money that my parent kept for me when I was young. It was kept for the future, being saved on my behalf and as I would not know any better. It is mine, in name but sometimes, I hardly see it.

The question here is that, just because it is a forced and enhanced saving that receive top-up from the employer and sometimes, the government, made it any less, mine? I hardly think so. I think that so long as it comes to an account that bears my name, I am responsible for it.

Another point is that, it is because I worked in that company, and that the company is willing to pay my remuneration,  and most importantly, it is considered as part of the pay package offered to me, as such, I will considered this point as moot.

Which comes to 1 point in Ms Chia's statement about being responsible as a citizen. One of the key responsibility of the citizen is that of tax. We pay taxes, which means, we contribute to the national coffer. putting it into prospective, going by Ms Chia's rationale, the government should bear in mind when they spend on the coffer, they should think twice when spending it willy-nilly and we should be consulted, no? We should be accountable to, no? anyway, I shall leave it to another time to dwell on this point.

And this comes to the next point in her discourse about how it is irresponsible to allow the account holder should be allow to use the funds anyway they want. Lets just say that nobody is talking about a carte blanch, but rather, a greater liberty to use the funds when they are in their vulnerable years after 55 whereby they could be retrenched or fall ill while taking a substantial impact in their income.
That has nothing to do with irresponsible spending, more on not being dependant on the public and becoming destitute.

Lets get back to basic. The whole idea of the CPF in its inception is a self funded retirement fund that is based on how hard one has worked during their working life. It spurs the economy as most people worked hard to make sure that they have not just enough to make ends meet, but also to build a nest egg for their Golden Years. To suggest that money is anything less than their own, and to suggest that people worked hard to have better access as irresponsible is derisory to say the least.

Lets just say that we should go back to the basic and make the fundamental changes that is needed to meet future challenges. It is as simple as the following:

  1. Improve wage condition for everyone, especially those of lower wages
  2. Increase Employer contribution ration
While some will say that this will result in market meltdown and foreign investment exiting en masse. It unfortunately has become inevitable as the minimum sums rise and rise again year after year while my pay seems to be getting nowhere.

No comments: