Friday, August 24, 2012

杜进才与公积金,Dr Toh Chin Chye and CPF (2 of 2)

半个世纪前杜进才卷入第二次世界大战后亚非拉人民争取国家独立摆脱殖民统治的斗争浪潮,投身于建国事业。201223日农历正月十二,在家中辞世,享年90岁。他跟当年其他四位开国元勋林金山、拉惹勒南、吴庆瑞、杨玉麟Lim Kim SanS. RajaratnamGoh Keng Swee, Yong Nyuk Lin)缔造了新加坡历史,然后一同在人世间湮没。另外四位开国领袖李光耀、王邦文、易润堂、奥斯曼沃(Lee Kuan Yew, Ong Pang Boon, Jek Yuen Thong, Othman Wok)都把一生最青春的年华奉献给新加坡,夕阳无限好,只是近黄昏,现在都已徐徐老矣。
(新加坡建国先贤杜进才,把最光辉的岁月奉献给理想。2012年2月3日往生。)

李显龙总理写给杜进才家属的慰问信中提到:

During the Budget Debate in 1985, Dr Toh made a passionate speech criticising the CPF contribution, then 50% of wages, as a heavy imposition on employers. I had just entered politics, and as a minister of state in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, I stood up and rebutted him vigorously. But as it turned out, Dr Toh was right. The economy soon went into a steep recession, and by the end of the year, the Government had concluded the CPF rates were too high and indeed needed to be cut. The Straits Times, 3 Feb 2012

李显龙总理在杜进才的追悼会上再次肯定杜进才的贡献:

Dr Toh's passing reminds us of how we got here, how much we owe to him and his generation, and how heavy a responsibility we have to carry their vision, and ours, forward and take Singapore higher and further into a brighter future. The Straits Times, 8 Feb 2012

到底李杜二人之间有什么政见纠纷,必须以“对于错”来解析将近30年前的陈年旧事?

19846月的国会辩论,杜进才抨击侯永昌报告书(Howe report),不赞成将公积金的提款年龄从55岁延迟至60甚至65岁,更遑论保留最低存款作为医疗保健用途。他认为医疗保健是政府的社会责任,不应该违背设立公积金的基本原则,把医疗的费用转嫁给国民。同时他也对50%的公积金缴交率对本地企业和员工所面对的最迫切的钱不够用的生活现状提出异议。

杜进才抨击侯永昌报告书。The Straits Times 30 Jun 1984

19853月新国会辩论各部门财政预算,杜进才与新进反对党员詹时中唱同一首歌,杜进才提出公积金缴交率应该是40%,以确保新加坡整体经济保持竞争优势。詹时中赞成杜进才的看法,认为40%的公积金已经足以让工友买一间组屋,维持保健户口和拥有足够存款来养老:

As regards CPF, it is heartening to note that the CPF rate of 50% will not be increased. I support the Member for Rochore's suggestion to cut the present rate down to 40%. At this rate of contribution, it will be enough to give workers their security in old age and to purchase a home and enough for their Medisave.

….There is a question which everybody likes to ask: how is the Government going to fund the repayments of CPF to their depositors? Is the Government funding CPF repayments through taxation? I hope the Minister in charge of CPF will enlighten us on these important points. ”(Parliamentary report 19 Mar 1985

(杜进才认为公积金缴交率过高,拖累了新加坡的经济。The Straits Times 19 Mar 1985)

(詹时中与杜进才走在同一条线上。The Straits Times 20 Mar 1985)

1980年代,月入约千元的家庭称为低薪家庭,提高低薪家庭的收入以解决贫富家庭的差距是政府急不容缓的任务。于是当年刚踏入政坛的贸工部政务部长李显龙为“高薪政策”辩护:

We talked about overheads. What overheads are you talking about? …CPF - is that an overhead? Is that something which the Government takes away from the workers? Or is it something which is part of the salary, which belongs to the workers, something which the workers use to spend for Medisave, for a house, and for old age?

CPF is part of the worker's earnings, and we are proud that we are able to have such a large amount of savings put aside for a house to live in and for old age. Very few countries can do this.

Our payroll was supposed to have doubled in five years. (I do not know whether this is exactly so, I have not checked the numbers.) But if so, I think we should congratulate ourselves. What does it mean to have a payroll which doubles in five years? It means our high wage policy has worked. Workers' incomes have gone up. Inflation has stayed down, and that means real purchasing power has increased. We deliberately raised wages because the alternative is to go for low wages, low skills, and low standards of living - misery. Is that desirable?”(Parliamentary report 19 Mar 1985

19858月的国会辩论,杜进才再次强调50%公积金对平民百姓的生计的影响,政府不能对每两天三家小型企业倒闭的现象视若无睹。到了年底,新加坡的经济不景气实在不能持续下去,政府大刀阔斧,将总公积金缴交率锐减至35%,此后最高维持在40%。当然啦,我的50%公积金的黄金工作岁月从此一去不复还,未来养老的方程式必须重新规划。数年后,财务顾问(Financial Planner)如雨后春笋,成为新兴行业。

(杜进才:新加坡陷入经济不景气是政府的责任。The Straits Times 4 Aug 1985)

198511月,杜进才还是紧咬着公积金不放,认为政府不应该让人民动用公积金来购买私人产业和股票交易,因为人民所必须承担的财务风险跟公积金建立在投资基金的机制上的做法背道而驰。(The Straits Times 11 Nov 1985


(杜进才:削减公积金缴交率至40%。The Straits Times 11 Nov 1985)

三十年后的今天,新加坡是世界上人均第三富有的国家,可是副总理兼财长尚达曼(Tharman Shanmugaratnam)还必须在国会辩论中唇枪舌剑,众部长级人马加入阵营,引经据典来阐明月入千元的家庭一样买得起组屋。唇枪舌剑背后是一个贫富过于悬殊的严重社会问题。

震撼的不只是月入千元是否供养得起廉价组屋,而是三十年前月入千元属于贫困家庭,1985年国会辩论推出高薪政策,五年内使人民收入翻倍的愿景。三十年后我们的低薪工友的入息到底改善了多少?他们的生活是否比三十年前好过?

三十年后的今天,杜进才与詹时中那年所唱的同一首歌的愿景并没有实现,许多人到了退休年龄才发觉钱不够用。公积金局的标语“saving for retirement”对许多普罗大众而言是个乌托邦。

三十年后的将来,或许公积金只是账面功夫,因为现在的年轻人已经几乎将一生的公积金积蓄投入房地产。

杜进才的棺木铺盖着由他负责设计的新加坡国旗。1959年,新加坡从一个英国殖民地晋升为自治国。人民行动党在当年赢得大选,杜进才受委为副总理。他领导一个委员会设计国旗,代表这个新生国家的价值观、理想、精神与自豪。最终设计出的红白国旗,除了一轮新月,还有代表民主、公正、和平、进步与平等的五颗星星。从杜进才退出内阁后不受约束,在国会畅所欲言,为民请命,反映了他一生中所坚守的价值观。



(杜进才领导一个委员会设计新加坡国旗,现在这面国旗铺盖在他的棺木上,走完一生。Today 2012)

李显龙在杜进才的葬礼上大方承认当年杜进才关于公积金的精辟见解,知道自己初生之犊,并没有掌握到整个时局,杜进才是对的。李显龙所表现的大气,树立了良好的政治家风范,也使我们感染到一个强烈的信息:对抗的年代已经过去了。

如果说人生有遗憾,杜进才的奋斗目标是一个统一、平等及多元主义理念的马来西亚人的马来西亚,这个梦想很遥远,并没有实现。


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