In the 150-strong crowd at a public forum held in Nee Soon yesterday to discuss this year's Budget, one woman stood out.
She was the lone housewife, among about 30 in the audience, who raised her hand when Nee Soon GRC MP Lee Bee Wah did a poll of non-working women whose husbands topped up their Central Provident Fund (CPF) accounts.
Concerned by the low CPF balances of these women, Ms Lee encouraged the other housewives to ask for CPF top-ups from their husbands, so as to make full use of the higher interest rates announced in the Budget statement last month.
From next year, those aged 55 and above can earn an extra 1 percentage point of interest for the first $30,000 in their combined CPF balances.
That means monies in a person's Special, Retirement or Medisave account can attract interest rates of up to 6 per cent.
"Tonight you can go back, discuss with your husband and tell him that for the first $30,000 in your CPF account, you will get 6 per cent interest. Discuss that maybe it's better to put money into your CPF account," said Ms Lee.
She noted that banks' interest rates are less than 1 per cent.
Foreign Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam, also a Nee Soon GRC MP, echoed the call to add to the CPF accounts of non-working family members.
"If you don't have enough, at least the family can contribute. The Government is giving you 6 per cent," he told reporters.
The argument seemed to convince participants at yesterday's forum, organised by the grassroots Women's Executive Committees in Nee Soon GRC and held at Nee Soon South Community Club to mark International Women's Day.
Said Ms Jeya Gowrie, 48: "I think husbands should put the money in (our CPF). We make all these sacrifices for our families."