Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Lim Swee Say yesterday assured Singaporeans that their money in the Central Provident Fund (CPF) was "100 per cent safe".
While many investments had been lost during the global financial crisis, he pointed out, CPF had still continued to earn interest then.
"(The) money with CPF... was not only safe, but continued to earn risk-free interest," he told reporters on the sidelines of a mock parliamentary debate session for students at The Arts House.
He was responding to recent public discussions on the CPF, prompted by a May 15 post by blogger Roy Ngerng alleging that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had misappropriated CPF savings.
Mr Ngerng has since been sued by Mr Lee for defamation.
Yesterday, Mr Lim reminded Singaporeans that the money in their CPF account was theirs - something that "nobody can take away".
He said: "You have the money, the account, and you receive the statement of accounts on a regular basis, so you know exactly how much money you have."
Mr Lim, who is also labour chief, emphasised that the CPF is used mainly for retirement, after accounting for housing, health care and education for children.
Considering how Singaporeans are living longer, he advised against the early use of CPF money, as this would leave less for retirement.
"Instead of thinking if you can spend your savings at the age of 55, we should think about how we can help Singaporeans remain employed, earn a good living and, at the same time, to continue to contribute to the CPF," he said.
The three-day Singapore Model Parliament event, which involved more than 100 students, ended yesterday.
Discussions were dominated by several national issues, such as Singapore's Constitution, minimum wage and cyber security, with the students taking on parliamentary roles including that of prime minister, ruling party MPs and opposition party MPs.
The event was organised by government feedback arm Reach's Youth Ambassadors from the National University of Singapore (NUS), the NUS Political Science Society and the Pro Bono Office of the NUS Faculty of Law.
Said NUS law student Navin Prakass Pillay, 23, who was one of the organisers: "I encountered participants who are very passionate about issues that young people are not really interested in... I found that very refreshing."
This article was first published on June 23, 2014.
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