Move away from Government knows best' approach

Move away from Government knows best' approach

Perhaps it is time to re-examine the paternalistic nature of the social contract between the Government and the people.

Most Singaporeans do not harbour any conspiracy theories on their Central Provident Fund (CPF) money, but are more concerned about it being made available to them when they retire.

Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin writes that "the CPF is put in place to help Singaporeans have peace of mind when it comes to their retirement years" ("CPF money is your money, says Chuan-Jin"; yesterday).

However, do we still need the Government's hand in determining how we spend our savings in our twilight years?

The imposition of a Minimum Sum does suggest the Government's belief that most Singaporean retirees are incapable of dealing with their own personal finances in a responsible manner - a suggestion that I strongly disagree with.

I suggest that we move away from this "Government knows best" approach and allow retirees to make their own decisions on their retirement funds. If someone chooses to fritter away his CPF savings, it is a decision made by an adult that we should respect, even if we disagree with it.

The corollary is that this individual should also not expect any handouts from the State if he should find himself in a destitute position as a result of his decisions.

Like a parent who eventually has to let his child deal with the repercussions of his decisions, the Government should not be watching over retirees' shoulders in their twilight years. We should not be a nanny state from cradle to grave.

After some 30 years in the workforce, retirees should have earned some respect and be given the leeway to live and spend the way they want, with no interference from anyone.

Tan Suan Jin

This article was first published on May 27, 2014.
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