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Return CPF money, Singapore told

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  • MellanieHewlitt
    Singaporeans are not the only victims of the CPF scam. Malaysians are also on this list.
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 24, 2004
    • 0 Attachment
      Singaporeans are not the only victims of the CPF scam. Malaysians are also on
      this list.

      http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2004/12/25/nation/9738367&sec=nation

      Return CPF money, Singapore told

      JOHOR BARU: The national airspace should not be traded for the
      release of the RM2bil in pensions belonging to Malaysians which is
      now locked in Singapore's Central Provident Fund (CPF), Johor Umno
      deputy chief Datuk Mohamed Khaled Nordin said.

      He said the nation's airspace involved the country's sovereignty and
      security and should not be used as a trading tool.

      Mohamed Khaled, who is also Pasir Gudang Umno chief, said Singapore
      should release the money because it belonged to Malaysians.

      "The money was contributed by Malaysians to the CPF and it is
      rightly theirs. They should not be stopped from taking back what is
      theirs," he said after opening an entrepreneurship carnival for
      university students here yesterday.

      Mohamed Khaled said Johor Umno also felt that the matter should not
      be included in the negotiations to resolve problems between the two
      countries.

      Singapore Senior Minister Goh Chok Tong said after a meeting with
      Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in Putrajaya on Dec
      13 that the Malaysian Government would consider allowing Singapore
      Air Force (SAF) jets to use Malaysian airspace for training.

      Goh had said that if it could be done, he would have no hesitation
      in releasing the CPF funds of Malaysians and would consider the
      joint development of Keretapi Tanah Melayu's land in Singapore.

      The island republic only allowed Malaysians from Sabah and Sarawak
      to withdraw their savings in the CPF.

      When winding up the debate on the 2005 Budget at the state assembly
      on Tuesday, Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman had said that the
      Johor Government was concerned that the SAF might be allowed to
      train in Malaysian airspace.

      He had said that there had been many complaints from residents in
      the Gelang Patah area about the nuisance caused by the low-flying
      jets.

      Malaysia closed its airspace to the SAF in 1998 after considering
      national and public interests and the demand of residents in the
      affected areas.


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      Comments By Mellanie Hewlitt
      Singapore Review
      1 Oct 2004

      With an obscene amout of surplus in Medisave Reserves, huge hidden
      fiscal surpluses enrich the Singapore government and state enterprises but
      impoverish the private sector and tax payers.

      Lack of Transparency is a common issue with the CPF Board and State
      Owned Enterprises. The ST article (in 1 Oct 2004 issue) below is vaguely
      reminiscient of similiar revelations of the huge hidden reserves
      which the National Kidney Foundation had stashed away, even as it sort more
      charitable funding from the general public. Indeed the common theme in both CPF
      and NKF exercises is that they have the central objective of siphoning even
      more funds from tax-payers into the already fat coffers of many state owned
      vehicles. All this is cleverly done under the guise of schemes and policies
      which are supposedly designed to look after the welfare of Singapore Citizens.

      But the abuse is quite glaring since money only flows one way:- into
      the pockets of the state administrators. There is no outflow from the
      state to the public. What happens to the billions of dollars in reserves is also
      a total mystery.

      The high-surplus strategy lowers Singapore's standard of living.
      Deprived of disposable income by numerous taxes, Singaporeans consistently
      consume a share of GDP 10-20 percentage points below Hong Kong levels, while
      Hong Kong maintains a higher per-capita income. It was only recently that the
      CPF Board has also stepped up measures to sue "Medisave Laggards" who fail to
      top-up on their own Medisave accounts.

      These Big structural surpluses most benefit the ruling party, to the
      detriment of the private sector. Unconstrained by tight finances, the
      government pays cabinet members and civil servants some of the world's highest
      public-sector packages. See:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sg_Review/message/1182
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sg_Review/message/3
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sg_Review/message/1321

      A variety of analytical shields obscures the embarrassing size of
      government surpluses. Accounting principles differ from global standards. A
      bewildering array of statutory boards, government-linked companies, investment
      corporations and holding companies transact among themselves at undisclosed
      prices. Key data such as the government's share of national savings and the
      profits of holding companies and investment corporations are kept secret. One
      analyst calls the national accounts a "masterpiece of obfuscation." See:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sg_Review/message/87
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sg_Review/message/1270
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sg_Review/message/1170

      The other troubling issue which is tactfully avoided by the government is the
      fact that CPF investments (and returns/profitability of State Owned
      Companies as wells as GLCs and TLCs) are under performers and laggards well
      behind private sector standards. Is this is an intended result of figures
      manupulated to obscure huge returns, or are State Owned Entities really so
      appalingly bad at earning decent returns on investments? No one will ever know
      the answers.

      It is indeed cruel irony that State Organisations and Government
      Linked Companies are ripping-off the very individuals which they are
      established to protect. So blatant is the abuse of public funds that such
      occurences have now been institutionalised and formalised, with the Constitution
      re-written to allow the state and State Owned Enterprises direct access to
      state/public reserves. All this has happened with the blessing of the Auditors
      General office and Finance Ministry. See:
      http://www.singaporedemocrat.org/media_releases_display.php?id=119
      http://www.parliament.gov.sg/Legislation/Htdocs/Bills/0400012.pdf
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sg_Review/message/1175

      Legitimisation of Corruption and Nepotism has been tansformed into a
      art-form by Singapore's Ruling Bureucracy, all at the expense of the man on
      the street.
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