SINGAPORE - In recent years, the Government has opened many social service offices to help Singaporeans who are in need of financial assistance.
While this move serves to ensure that our social safety net is enhanced, we must also ensure that the financial assistance is not abused by Singaporeans.
One way to enhance the current system is to allow Singaporeans who are "CPF-rich" but have hit a rough patch to withdraw money from their Central Provident Fund accounts to tide them over temporarily, instead of financial aid from the Government.
To ensure Singaporeans have enough for retirement, the CPF Board could consider making members repay this sum withdrawn within a stipulated time. The board could pay such members a lower interest rate until the amount withdrawn is repaid.
In so doing, the Government's burden of maintaining the social safety nets will be lowered. Singaporeans who approach the social service offices for assistance will have to look to their own savings first, rather than use taxpayers' money.
While we aspire to be a compassionate society, let's not sow the seeds of a welfare state, wherein citizens have a misplaced sense of entitlement that it is the Government's responsibility to ensure their well-being without their own efforts.
This article was first published on February 03, 2015.
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