Sunday, April 24, 2011

Civil servants and pension scheme

Quote from Diary of a Singaporean Mind

In 1996, 103 veteran civil servants sued the govt[Link]. When they signed up to join civil service, they did so under a pension scheme left behind by the British govt. In 1973, the PAP govt persuaded them to sign up for a new scheme called CPF. They were told this scheme was better because they would take home more pay every month and they would be better off in the long run. When they switched to this "better" CPF scheme, they would have to give up their medical benefits and pensions.There were many civil servants put under pressure in the 80s and 90s to switch to the CPF scheme. I remember the Straits Times had article after article on the benefits of switching to the CPF scheme including calculation to show how much these civil servants will benefit from the switch. 

The man pushing for the civil servants to convert from the old scheme was Lee Hsien Loong. 2-3 decades later many of these civil servants who gave up their pensions realized they are worse off due the the inadequacy of CPF and escalating healthcare cost. They sued the govt and lost...then they appealed and lost again. When they made the wrong choice and believed what was presented to them, they committed an irreversible mistake which they regretted the rest of their lives. The pension scheme and medical benefits that these low ranking civil servants gave up was retained for top civil servants whose salaries also rose much faster than the average civil servant.

In a few weeks all of us have to make an important decision. We are shown numbers and calculations on how the foreign influx has created jobs for Singaporeans, how HDB remains affordable and massive upgrading carrots dangled to sway you to vote for them. Just remember what happened to those veteran civil servants who believed what they were told.


Soodo said...

A very timely reminder indeed.

Here are similar reminders from history:

"The Romans used to say that courage is not the only virtue, but it's the only one that makes the other virtues possible." -- Benjamin Netanyahu to Brian Lamb on C-SPAN's Washington Journal, Sept. 21, 2001

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it." -Thomas Paine

"If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." -- Samuel Adams


A great collection of quotes & thoughts about freedom from politicians, generals, poets etc.

yujuan said...

This is news to us, did'nt know our PM Lee is so sneaky in pushing for schemes and policies that ultimately shortchange us, to our disadvantage. Seems he does not have a good heart.
My kidney dialysis nursing friend now regrets that she was taken in by the CPF carrot, and opted for it.

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