What the British left us, the PAP govt improved tremedously. CPF was created in 1955 when Singapore was a British colony. It was a simple idea - save part of you income so that you will be able to retire comfortably. The British also introduced the idea of pension schemes that was implemented in the civil service and many Singapore companies. What the British did, the PAP improved. Pension schemes have been eliminated for ordinary citizens but is still in place for Ministers & Admin service officers...although our elites make more in one year than what ordinary Singaporeans make in a lifetime, they need a pension scheme to reduce their painful sacrifice. Allowing ordinary Singaporeans to have a pension scheme would have undermined their work ethics and make them think of retiring before their seventies.
The simple CPF scheme the British left us has been transformed into a complicated masterpiece that serve many purposes. When the Singapore economy went into recession in 1987 and 1998, the CPF was cut to get keep companies profitable. When HDB wanted to raise prices and had keep housing affordable, the CPF was liberalised for housing. When the govt wanted to kick start the fund management industry, CPF was liberalised for investments in unit trusts - only recently did the govt realised it needs to rein in the high management cost these funds were charging CPF investors. It was also liberalised for buying stocks so that Singaporeans so that the govt can privatise its state owned enterprises successfully. CPF is also used for to pay for your medical bills which have been escalating for the past 10 years. As the govt increased tuition fees in tertiary institutions, it allowed CPF to be used to pay for children's education.
The British created the CPF for the single purpose of making sure Singaporeans can retire comfortably. It is the genius of the PAP that made CPF what it is today - the PAP realised that the CPF is not just about retirement...Singaporeans can always be convinced to work harder and longer - retirement is not a problem because many Singaporeans will die working and never retire....so there is this problem of excess CPF funds for which the PAP have found creative uses. Singaporeans are indeed lucky to be able to lead long productive working lives unlike citizens of other countries who waste away their time looking after their grandchildren or strolling in the park.