(Petaling Jaya, Saturday): DAP fully supports the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad that Singapore Central Provident Fund (CPF) should not discriminate between Malaysians from the Peninsula and from Sabah and Sarawak and should allow all Malaysians to withdraw their CPFs when they quit their jobs and leave Singapore.
It has been estimated that there are about 50,000 Malaysians who are CPF members with total savings of about $1 billion or RM2.5 billion.
At present, CPF allows workers of other nationalities and Malaysians from Sabah and Sarawak to withdraw their savings when they quit their jobs and leave Singapore.
However, those from the peninsula can make full withdrawals only when they reach 55 years of age and leave Singapore permanently.
Alternatively, they msut be above 50 years old and have stopped working in Singapore for two years before applying.
This is clearly discriminating and dividing Malaysians into two categories - those from the peninsula and those from Sabah and Sarawak - something which good neighbours should not do.
It is 33 years since Malaysia and Singapore have gone their separate ways in nation-building, and it is time that the Singapore Government realise that it is in the interest of good neighbourliness that it acknowledges that such discriminatory treatment of Malaysians from the peninsula and from Sabah and Sarawak, though as a result of "historic links", are now completely untenable.
It is a test case of the Singapore Government’s readiness to maintain the best possible relationship with Malaysia by taking the initiative to end the 33-year discrimination among Malaysians with regard to CPF withdrawals, without having to go through protracted and unpleasant diplomatic and bilateral negotiations and discussions.
I hope the Singapore Cabinet at its next meeting next week will take a policy decision and announce that Malaysians from the peninsula would be treated like Malaysians from Sabah and Sarawak and be allowed to withdraw their CPF savings when they quit their jobs and leave Singapore.
This will also be a great gesture of good neighbourliness as Malaysia is in dire need of the RM2.5 billion savings of Malaysians in the CPF in view of the deteriorating economic crisis faced by the country.