The NUS Department of Social Work held its inaugural Ee Peng Liang Seminar titled “Social Security and Support Issues for the Ageing Population” on 29 March 2010. The seminar was attended by academics as well as Economics and Social Work students from NUS, and graced by Guest-of-Honour Minister for Community Development, Youth and Sports Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, NUS Deputy President (Academic Affairs) and Provost Prof Tan Eng Chye and Chairman of National Kidney Foundation Mr Gerard Ee.
Outstanding NUS Social Work alumnus Mr Ng Kok Hoe was awarded the newly established Ee Peng Liang Memorial Fund Scholarship at the seminar where he also presented a paper titled “Singapore’s CPF: Unique and Adequate”. Mr Ng, who is currently pursuing his doctoral studies in Social Policy at the London School of Economics, touched on changes made to the CPF (Central Provident Fund) system in the last five years, and how they have affected the security of the retirement income available for older Singaporeans. He also discussed how to make retirement savings last longer in view of Singapore’s ageing population. The CPF is a compulsory savings scheme for Singaporeans to meet their needs in housing, healthcare, family protection and investment, and to ensure that they stay financially independent, even in retirement.
Commenting on the CPF scheme in his speech, Dr Balakrishnan explained how the government was addressing the problem of an ageing population or “demographic tsunami”. He said, “We need to take a long-term view and plan ahead. We have four pillars to ensure our social security. They are the Central Provident Fund for retirement savings, home ownership, the 3Ms (Medisave, Medishield, Medifund) for healthcare, and Workfare. Fortunately, we start off in a good position,” Dr Balakrishnan said. The other discussant involved in the Q&A session was NUS Department of Economics Senior Fellow Dr Lee Soo Ann.
The Scholarship and Seminar Series were made possible by the Ee Peng Liang Memorial Fund in honour of the late Dr Ee who was known as Mr Charity for his contribution to the social service sector.