What’s the Fuss over Singapore CPF and Roy Ngerng?

Nagging Questions abound on Roy Ngerng’s "Shocking Facts About CPF" .

Did PAP Take Our CPF to Pay for the GIC’s and Temasek’s Losses? Unfortunately, or fortunately, Roy and his co-writer DID NOT answer his own question in the undisputable affirmative.

I read many times Roy’s arguments over several posts regarding CPF, income inequality, Government Reserves, HDB Car Parks, Medisave and Medishield, poverty and a host of social issues he so passionately advocates. Most of these issues are unrelated to each other. It is however plainly painful to see Roy’s desperate attempts to persuade his readers to connect his missing dots so as to make some kind of connections between his interesting infographics in order to arrive at his “conclusions” regarding some kind of sinister motives in the PAP Government to conspire against Singaporeans and, particularly, to expropriate our hard-earned CPF funds.

It is known that GIC and Temasek Holdings lost $117 billion in 2008, mostly due to the US financial crisis. The writers produce lots of “official” statistics in beautiful charts and infographics. But statistics are not arguments. Not a single shred of evidence - no smoking gun - is produced to trace the flow of funds from CPF to their supposed end eventually to cover GIC and Temasek’s losses.  It would have been better if the writers had “follow the money” and show the “missing funds” in the CPF, and trace their path, in some forms - whether as loans, equity, advances, gifts or bonds – into the books of GIC and Temasek.  They did not do so.  It would also be a better bonus revelation for them to reveal that these “losses” – an astonishing S$117 billion were never paid back into the CPF. 

The alleged big dark hole of $117 billion in the CPF’s books is surely difficult to miss since the CPF reported its Funds to have only about S$252.5 billion as at 31 December 2013.  And if no money were actually “missing” from the CPF – please check audited public accounts in CPF Annual Reports – how could the CPF have been used to cover up GIC/Temasek losses?  In fact, the writers already refuted their own conclusion when they observed that since 2007, “CPF balance Grew by 90% … but GIC grew by only 69% and Temasek Holdings grew by only 21%.

The writers fail to grasp the significance of their own discovery. Their statement is by far the clearest evidence that GIC and Temasek DID NOT receive CPF Funds. The figures are true and only make sense if both GIC and Temasek were just “fund managers” and therefore the funds under their  “management” are not technically Temasek/GICs’ and therefore cannot be entered into their accounting books or balance sheets in accordance with standard accounting procedures and practices.

This should have been the end of the allegation that “the PAP took our CPF to pay for the GIC’s and Temasek’s losses”.  It did not.

Perhaps, “Shocking Facts About Singapore CPF” was NOT and was NEVER intended to argue that “CPF was used to pay for GIC/Temasek losses”.  That conclusion was seized upon only sometime at the end without leading logical arguments towards it. Therein lies the fundamental weakness and failure of of “Shocking Facts”.

The “Shocking Facts” posts began by pointing out and illustrating that the contribution rates to CPF was “unusually” high relatively when compared to other countries’ provident and pension contribution rates. Nothing “shocking” here. This is neither new nor revealing.  There is nothing sinister; and the associated reasons for this to be used for national development, housing and medical are transparent, and are not unduly unreasonable....

It is clear that the writers did not understand the concepts that they used to argue poverty and income inequality in Singapore. If they did intend to use “Poverty” defined and measured by the World Bank as daily earning of just US$1.25 (or S$1.50 per day), the writers have actually asserted that 28% of Singaporeans or 963,200 persons in 2013 earn just S$39 per month!  In 2013, the Singapore labour Force was 3.44 million as at June 2013.

I wonder whether I have been reading and fed blatant falsehoods and lies. Or it is simply just sloppy research, ignorance and poor analysis. Better analysis, better research, credible statistics and direct relevant evidence cannot be substituted by loud and emotional political slogans to cover up for illogical and bad arguments.

Kopi Level - Yellow

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Anonymous said...

RB, thanks for publishing and lucky I did not go support him now that u have published the good analysis. I am glad that I held back my donation and due to financial constraint I did not spend the transport money going there to support him.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

This is the view of Michael Heng, not mine, and I do not necessary agree with Michael. We have many arguments and disagreements over many issues.

I am just posting a different view and the readers should judge for themselves.

Raymond said...

Good analysis. Thanks for posting this.

Anonymous said...

"What's the Fuss over Singapore CPF and Roy Ngerng?"
- This is what Michael Heng asked.

"What's the Fuss over smart Indian city and Goh Chok Tong?"
- This is what I wish Michael Heng also ask.

Failed in China (Suzhou Industrial Park).
Now we try India.

Talking about Suzhou Industrial Park.
Have Singaporeans ever done any National Audit?
How much did it finally cost us?
How much have we benefited?
You know.
Cost-Benefit analysis.

Virgo 49 said...

Aiyo, PRC joint ventures two industrial parks with Singkapore, think not learnt enough??

They have more scholars then we peasants here. The one last feature on TV with the Li Shan Young smiling broadly as though just picked up gold is a wayang show by the China men.

What they want is just international support for their status in the international arena with their many claims of territories with other countries.

You think they combine with you?? Just give you contractor job of bread crumbs to please you.

Sinkies ministers gong gong think they picked up gold.

Have to get LHL to go there personally. After the joke of free smokes and pork soup and sucking up to the Americunts, still give you plum jobs??

Now also bring up the corruption case against the previous projects.

Anonymous said...

Veritas said...
Better to help India build 100 toilet. Indians are the only people who still shit on the streets.
i got something for you ,, even with all the modern toilets you chinese smell of oo all the time ,you would never know how disgusting it is in airtight MRT , you neither bathe nor was after use of toilet and your people in China shit side by in remote village streets chatting and smoking .You are the most disgusting kind , eat anything shit anywhere.

Veritas said...
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Anonymous said...

Applause to RB for not being selective in his publishing and providing a different perspective from someone else.

CPF issues needs to be raised, but how and what to raise about has many grey areas.

Roy and co are not wrong to advocate on this topic, its what and how they do it that has also many grey areas.

Ultimately, politics and policies are never black and white, but many shades of grey.

Even Micheal Heng will not always be right.

But of course, maybe in time to come we might start to see Michael Heng being labelled as an IB, or govt lap dog, for his temerity in questioning Roy the people's hero.

Veritas said...
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Veritas said...

Mickey is an opportunist. He will not speak the truth and he follows monies.

Mikospace said...

Yea, all over the world, so many have followed their "people's hero" into the deserts towards the mirages of bad arguments and irrelevant statistics. They ALWAYS end up EVEN MORE thirsty, and start to drink the sand BECAUSE they did not know better the difference between water and sand. Will the TRUTHs in MIKO-wisdom set your free? or you rather prefer to die happily full of sand?
Pls DO NOT hide behind a pretty girl's face, man!

Veritas said...
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Anonymous said...

The writer said, "In fact, the writers already refuted their own conclusion when they observed that since 2007, “CPF balance Grew by 90% … but GIC grew by only 69% and Temasek Holdings grew by only 21%. "

Hello! CPF grows when workers continue to put in more money year after year. GIC and Temasek are different. They should rely on profits from their investments. We are told that the govt does not inject money constantly into the two funds. It's not like CPF!

So it is absurd to use these figures for comparison and conclude that Roy contradicted himself.

The writer is completely wrong and I only have time to point out the most obvious.

Mikospace said...

Again, just the facts please, bru.
Look again at CPF public accounts record easily available. Total CPF Fund balance grew steadily from $85.3 billion in 1998 to $166.8 billion in 2009. The alleged withdrawal of $117 billion to finance FIC/Temasek losses would have left only about $50 billion in the CPF. At that time, from 2007-2010, CPF annual contributions were about $20 billion and withdrawals about $10 billion. So, about 50% of CPF was actually withdrawn as fast as they were contributed. There is just NOT ENOUGH money to pay for the $117 billion GIC/Temasek loss and hide it from the People of Singapore by covering up the hole in CPF books! Just follow the money, man! DO NOT BLINDLY FOLLOW THE PIPER.