TikTok User ‘dr.ishhaq.jay’ faces second POFMA notice over statement on CPF members’ accounts

SINGAPORE: Dr Tan See Leng, the Minister for Manpower, has instructed the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) Office to issue a Correction Direction to a TikTok user, “dr.ishhaq.jay” and a Targeted Correction Direction to TikTok Pte. Ltd.

This is in response to a dated TikTok post by the user on 12 August 2023, in which the Minister alleged that he had incorrectly asserted that none of the low and middle-income CPF members who utilized their CPF monies for HDB loan repayments had reached either the Basic Retirement Sum (BRS) or Full Retirement Sum (FRS) in their CPF accounts.

Contrary to “dr.ishhaq.jay”‘s claims, data from the CPF Board revealed that in 2022, nearly 7 out of 10 active CPF members had achieved their cohort’s BRS by age 55, said the Ministry of Manpower in a press release.

This statistic includes those members earning below the median income for their age group who used their CPF savings for housing loans. It’s projected that this number will increase to about 8 in 10 by 2027.

To rectify the false information, “dr.ishhaq.jay” is required to publish a new TikTok post containing the correct facts and provide a link directing viewers to the government’s clarification. TikTok Pte. Ltd. has also been tasked with issuing a correction notice to all Singaporean end-users who came across the initial post.

This is the second time that the user has received a POFMA direction. He had been previously served with a notice on 18 August over a misleading statement in a TikTok video that he posted on 17 August.

The video suggested that the Government has the capacity to trace individual voters’ choices in the polling booth and can subsequently penalize voters based on their vote.

Factually’s Detailed Clarifications

The Singapore government also made further clarification on its Factually website, addressing multiple alleged misconceptions from the TikTok post to provide clarity and context:

Monthly HDB Loan Repayment Post Age 55:

The original TikTok post suggested that from age 55, CPF members would be compelled to start making cash payments for their HDB loans.

Factually clarified that at age 55, only the funds required from a member’s Ordinary Account to meet the Full Retirement Sum will be transferred to their Retirement Account.

Moreover, members have the option to keep all or a portion of their Ordinary Account funds untouched to cater for housing loan payments.

Interest on CPF Monies Used for Housing:

Addressing another claim from the post that members are charged interest on CPF monies and grants used for housing, Factually explained that when members sell their property, they are required to refund the amount used, along with the accrued interest, to their CPF account, ensuring that no extra charges are imposed on members during property sales.

Utilizing CPF Savings for Children’s Education:

The TikTok post implied that CPF savings couldn’t be utilized for children’s education while foreigners receive free education.

Factually countered this by highlighting the CPF Education Loan Scheme, which lets members use their Ordinary Account savings for their children’s tuition fees.

Foreign students, contrary to the claims, usually pay higher tuition fees compared to Singaporeans and do not receive free education in the country.

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