CPF’s nonsensical reply in ST Forum?


Why are there so many “unknown” controversial CPF policies? 

I refer to the CPF board’s reply “CPF Board procedures on disclosing dead members’ details” to the letters from Mr Neo Lin Chen (Unable to access CPF statement, June 1; and Having procedures doesn’t mean error-free execution, June 8), Ms Margaret Lee (Transparency, accountability needed when handling CPF money; Forum Online, June 6) and Mr Young Pak Nang (Will CPF Board release detailed statement to all nominated beneficiaries?; Forum Online, June 9).

It states that “We will review our procedures to better meet the needs of members.”

As to “Currently, the CPF Board discloses a deceased’s CPF information to his nominees only if he had given the Board prior instructions to do so” – this may arguably be really somewhat nonsensical, as why would anyone give this “prior instructions to do so” whilst one is still alive?

How many people would know about this?

Has the CPF Board ever informed the media or anyone, or put this information on its web site?

In the history of the CPF Board – how many members have ever given such instructions?

With regard to “If he had not provided such instructions, the CPF Board takes a prudent approach and will seek the consent of all nominees before acceding to requests for information regarding the deceased’s CPF account” – are you telling us that all the three nominees who wrote to the Straits Times Forum are not single sole nominees, but are joint nominees?

In the history of the CPF Board – how many joint nominees have been informed that they can jointly give their consent?

In respect of “We assure CPF members that the CPF Board has strict controls in place to ensure that the deceased’s CPF savings are paid accurately to the nominees. Our processes and payments are independently checked and audited regularly by external auditors to ensure that they remain robust.

We should have been more prompt and clearer in explaining to Mr Neo on how we were handling his request, and have contacted him to apologise.

We have also contacted Ms Lee to clarify the matter” – this may not be the first time, arguably that the CPF Board has made controversial policies, without telling anyone or the media or announced in Parliament.

Allow me to cite just two examples in history –

… automatically deferring the start date of the monthly annuity payouts under the CPF Minimum Sum Scheme to age 70, unless one makes a request otherwise (“CPF: “No action is required if you wish to start your payouts at age 70”?” (Sep 7, 2017); “How much I get since CPF delayed to 70?” (Sep 26, 2018); “CPF: Delaying payout age will get higher amount” (Oct 10, 2017))

… if you die in the hospital (not elsewhere) – your Medisave account balance can be used to pay the deceased’ medical bills, even though it is protected from creditors (including the hospital) in cases whereby the deduction from the Medisave account would not be allowed because one’s Medisave eligibility and withdrawal limits have been exhausted (“HDB/CPF tips for the cash-strapped?” (Sep 17, 2017)

Uniquely Singapore!

Leong Sze Hian


About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.