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Government to refine CPF system: PM Lee on retirement adequacy

In his Mandarin speech at the National Day Rally, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the Government will refine the Central Provident Fund system to make it work better for Singaporeans.

SINGAPORE: The Government will refine the country's national savings system, known as the Central Provident Fund. This is aimed at making it work better for Singaporeans. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced this in his Mandarin speech at the National Day Rally.

Mr Lee said a new balance has to be struck between allowing Singaporeans more flexible use of their CPF savings, and ensuring it continues to provide a steady stream of income in retirement. Noting that home ownership is another pillar of retirement adequacy, Mr Lee said home owners can unlock the savings in their flats in many ways, including renting out one or more rooms. 

He said the Government will continue to adjust policies - to help Singaporeans use their flats for retirement income. Mr Lee also gave the assurance that as long as a family has CPF savings and a flat, they should be able to meet basic living expenses.

EDUCATION
Prime Minister Lee says the vision for education in Singapore is to allow students to pursue their interests according to their ability and aptitude as well as find a learning pathway that can develop their talent. He stressed that a person's worth and social standing should not be measured by academic qualifications alone. Mr Lee also noted that children need not go the university route, to have a bright future.

To help create more choices for education and better learning opportunities, Mr Lee said a committee has been set up to review education at the Polytechnics and Institutes of Technical Education. More pathways will also be opened for career progression. 

Mr Lee hopes employers will partner the Government to provide systematic on-the-job training and career planning. This is to help employees learn new skills, raise their standards and achieve personal excellence.

CHINESE CULTURE
With many Singaporean companies setting up businesses in China and doing well, Mr Lee said young Singaporean Chinese need to be helped to understand their own culture better. This is to take advantage of the ability of Singaporean Chinese to integrate more quickly into Chinese society, given a similar cultural background.

Mr Lee also said the young needed help to connect internationally, while remaining rooted to Singapore and anchored to local culture.

Mr Lee stressed that the Government has always supported groups which promote Chinese culture and mother tongue education, and clan associations have also done much in this area.

With the upcoming Singapore Chinese Culture Centre, both traditional and modern Chinese culture, as well as Singapore's unique Chinese culture, will be promoted. 

Towards the end of his speech, Mr Lee even sang a couple of lines from Liang Wern Fook's 'xinyao' song Small Stream that Flows Forever, earning applause from the audience.