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Uniquely Singapore, F1 or F9: Are our ministers also confused by the annuity… erm… Longevity Insurance scheme?

Posted by theonlinecitizen on September 24, 2007

By Andrew Loh and Leong Sze Hian

Just when we thought the confusion was over!

Do you get the feeling that this annuity …erm… sorry… this Longevity Insurance thing is messed up?

Even the New Paper reported that Singaporeans “liak bo kiew” (literally: catch no ball, meaning: don’t understand or do not grasp). (link)

One suspects that even those who should be absolutely clear about it also “liak bo kiew” – the MPs and the ministers.

35 days after the National Day Rally speech (19 August):

– the announcement 2 days later (21 August) by the Minister of Manpower that shocked the nation, with the Compulsory Annuity if you live to age 85.

– the Minister without Portfolio studying the aging issue, makes an about-turn that some will be exempted form the Compulsory Annuity. First that those chronically ill may be exempted. Then later, that those who have enough in their account may also be exempted.

– the Manpower Minister’s ministerial statement in parliament that the Compulsory Annuity has become Longevity Insurance, and that the floor rate on all CPF accounts (Ordinary, Medisave, Special and Retirement accounts) will be only 2.5 % in 2 year’s time, compared to the guaranteed 4 % now on the Medisave, Special and Retirement accounts.

And now (22 September), the Minister of National Development says that even those under the HDB lease buy-back scheme will have the Longevity Insurance built into the scheme.

Since it was said at the National Day rally speech that “We will pay you for the tail of the lease and you get some money out, a lump sum upfront and then the rest pay into CPF, some form of annuity, monthly payments for the rest of your life.”, why is it that those on the HDB lease buy-back scheme who will have “some form of annuity, monthly payments for the rest of your life”, in exchange for giving up the ownership and equity of their HDB flat to HDB, will also have to take the Longevity Insurance?

Why does one need Longevity Insurance when one already has “some form of annuity, monthly payments for the rest of your life”?

Or will those on the HDB buy-back scheme be exempted from the LI scheme, just as those who are chronically ill – as mentioned by the Minister without portfolio?

So, those who will be exempted are the rich (because they have enough for retirement), the chronically ill (because they are going to die soon) and those who sell back their flats to HDB (because…. ?).

The rich who have other means may be exempted from the Longevity Insurance, but the poor who have only one 2 or 3-room HDB flat to fall back on in their retirement will have to take the Longevity Insurance, despite already having a life annuity under the HDB lease buy-back scheme?

Do all the MPs know about these? Do the ministers really know what they are talking about?

6 months for answers

To top it all off, the Manpower Minister has appointed a committee and given them 6 months to look into all this. Shouldn’t the government have undertaken such a study before making all these announcements, confuse everyone and then when asked, say that the answers and details will only be known after the study, 6 months later?

Why make such momentous and significant announcements before a comprehensive study was done?

All the flip-flops and about-turns – are they symptoms of poor policy formulation?

Why wasn’t a comprehensive study done before the policy announcement?

Was the CPF Board surprised by the ministerial announcements?

No wonder, the New Paper said that most people “liak bo kiew”!

“Carefully considered”

Now, in a Channelnewsasia report headlined “CPF reforms carefully considered, govt can deliver: PM Lee”, one would have to ask: If it was “carefully considered”, why is there a need to set up a committee after the announcements, ask it to look into the LI scheme and say that the details will only be known 6 months into the future?

What does the PM mean when he said “CPF reforms carefully considered”? Who “carefully considered” it? Why is it that whoever “carefully considered” it still need a committee to work 6 months to study it?

Going forward, let’s hope the Longevity Insurance Committee’s deliberations and findings, and subsequent policy implementation may be of a higher standard befitting a government which only recently declared itself “unique”, “special”, “extraordinary” and “world class”.

It shouldn’t be too much to ask for – after all they are the ones who insisted on being paid the highest salaries on the planet.

Do our ministers also “liak bo kiew”?

Cartoon courtesy of My Sketchbook.


12 Responses to “Uniquely Singapore, F1 or F9: Are our ministers also confused by the annuity… erm… Longevity Insurance scheme?”

  1. James Chia said

    They are paid millions to solve problems but instead, they now pass the task to a committee. I really wonder if the committee needs to charge any consultation fee for the professional advice? More taxpayers’ money to spend?

  2. sevenleleven said

    looking at the hapharzard ways of doing things. i seriously doubt that had even think about it much to “have carefully considered it”. I get the feel it is a “one man” idea and the rest of the pack had to clean up the shit left behind not knowing how to clean them up properly

    It looks more like testing the ground on the people’s reactions and feedback so they can “sweeten the bitter poison” for human consumption

  3. RaymondChua said

    James Chia, I don’t doubt that the committee is pay millions to support PAP’s solution and then split out SAY-YES statistic as evidenced in the past. Oh yes, the committee will be lead by million-dollars minister who make sure that the committe’s job is simply to broadcast propaganda of the highest order to force people accept CPF change down the people’s throat.

    They have increased the GST to help the poor, and it turned out the poor refers to multi-millions wealthy ministers.
    No doubt, I won’t be surprised that the annuity which claim to help those over 85years are actually refering to those ministers !!!

  4. Andrew Loh said

    There is only one word to describe what the govt is doing – inept.

    1. PM announced the annuity scheme in his National Day Rally Speech.

    2. Manpower Minister made ministerial statement in parliament about the scheme – changing the name from “Compulsory Annuity Scheme” to “Longevity Insurance Scheme”.

    3. Manpower Minister says “CPF system is strong”.

    4. PM says “CPF system flawed.”

    5. PM says “CPF changes carefully considered.”

    But the “carefully considered” changes have to be given to a newly-appointed committee to “study” – for 6 months!

    It really makes you wonder who was or were the ones who did the “carefully considered” part.

  5. RaymondChua said

    Andrew Loh, indeed everything is predetermined by the PAP. The committee is just for wayang and act as comfort zone for the citizen. The committee are nothing but make up of same high-pay YES-MAN. Had the committe make up of some opposition party, I will have nothing much to complain, but it just make up of only CRONIES who had already ready-made those con-statistic.

    It is a laughing stock for the whole world, and I wonder why the world still believe Singapore system is world class. If they mean World Class Joker, I 100% agree. Our society cannot never separated from politics because gov control the society.

    PM say CPF system is flawed ? Why they say it is flawed when they depleted CPF money for investment and now find way to seek money from public ? Why not do it early ?

    This PM is a great joker ! Isn’t he the one who say that donation of his pay rise to charity is already considered before minister’s pay rise ? Only a moron will believe what the gov say.

    The problem with most intellect is that they try to rationalise and perform academic analysis of what’s good and what’s bad of gov policy.

    And all good intellect dies young as learn from history of China. Why ? Those good intellect die from broken heart and grief because ultimately their intelligent analysis are really nothing in the end. It only bring more grief to the people to know the truth.

  6. James Guo said

    Another LIAK BO KIEW from last nite’s ministerial meeting with grassroots. Minister Ng EH confirmed himself to be a TUA PIEN SIEN (bull-shiter).

    A grassroot leader lamented that the Scheme would benefit the richer ones more than the poor as the latter are less likely to live past 85 years of age. The reason is because the poor would have liitle or no means for better diet, tonic, medical supplements and treatment and hospital care which will aid longetivity.

    Without any hesitation, Dr Ng said that if the professionals agree, than the rich will have to pay higher premium and the poor lesser.

    Liak Bo Kiew?
    What good is a discount on premium payment for the poor if indeed they are rated actuarially to die ealrlier and even less likely to live past 85 to benfit from the payouts.

    Also can wealth or the lack of it be actuarially correlated to longetivity. Wealth is subjective and a matter of degree. I stand corrected, but I don’t think this is a critieria by the insurance world. I have not seen that in insurance underwriting questionare forms But may the well paid and knowledgeable minister knows something we don’t

  7. WTF said

    CPF reforms carefully considered, govt can deliver: PM Lee
    By S Ramesh, Channel NewsAsia | Posted: 23 September 2007 1818 hrs
    Mr Lee said the CPF interest rate is better than that given by the banks, and he had a tip for wives.

    “All the women should tell their husbands that the government’s CPF interest rate is now very high, better than the POSBank anytime so better take your money from your POSB (account) and put into my CPF account,” he quipped.


    This is serious, very serious! The PM is is so desperate that he’s into hard sell. Hello, accounts in POSBank can be withdrawn anytime. You deposit your money in CPF? Once it’s inside, good luck to you.

    I think our CPF is pok kai(empty/bankrupt) now.

    Read this Uncle’s CPF woes.

    The clean version

    The original comment

    The musical

    So often we learn from main stream media that George Bush invaded Iraq to destroy WMD and bring democracy to Iraq. PAP raised GST to 7% to help the poor in Singapore. PAP Mintsters are coming out with Compulsory Annuity and Delayed Withdrawal of Minimum Sum in CPF to help retirees, especially retirees who are poor. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, pigs do fly, Chee Soon Juan is the secretary-general of PAP and my mother is the Queen of England!

    God bless Singapore!


  8. […] by singaporedaily on September 25th, 2007 CPF & Annuities – The Online Citizen: Uniquely Singapore, F1 or F9: Are our ministers also confused by the annuity… erm… Longevity Ins… – The States Times: Where’s The Money? – HWZ: A hero in the making – sgForums: “GIC does not […]

  9. Pui Yee said

    i’ve long suspected the cpf is pok kai. why shouldn’t it be??? with so much secrecy and cronyism surrounding the management of cpf funds, why should we place blind faith in our million-dollar ministers???

    it is a pyramid marketing game here. and that is one of the reasons why the pappies are readily granting prs so as to inject fresh funds. annality – ridiculously termed “longevity insurance” – is simply another way to prevent withdrawal.

    i pity those who are blissfully ignorant of the cpf issues. they are in for a rude shock when the shit finally hits the fan.

  10. Onlooker said

    The best form of corruption is not the type that could be seen.
    Choices: Remain silent and continue to be deceived.
    Actions: Push you off the boat then throw in a life jacket.
    How ironic after Mr Fong comes out now we get to watch “I pronounced you larry and chuck”

    And a final note
    Power corrupts, Absolute Power corrupts absolutely.
    Kudos to people living in Potong Pasir and Woodland.

  11. RaymondChua said

    Onlooker , the greatest form of corruption is one that look like no corruption at all ! So people won’t question them, people continue to be deceived. remember NKF ?

    The greatest corruption happen because of word like ‘no choice’, ‘mo bian’,

  12. Seeking Salvation said

    U guys have not idea that you life have been hone to a recycle bit right down to yr eyes kidneys liver etc (its all part of a revenue generating bit) yes the quirks says its helps those who need the organs but think of the charges they are reaping. its now gotten down to recycling your cpf.

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