Singapore – The Ministry of Law released a video where Singaporeans were asked if they knew the roles and responsibilities of the ministry.
On February 24, Minister for Home Affairs and Law, Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam, better known as K Shanmugam, shared a video posted on the Ministry of Law’s Facebook page.
“An entertaining video on some myths about MinLaw and the work undertaken by the ministry,” said Mr Shanmugam. “This is timely, as we prepare to share more on MinLaw’s plans for the year at the upcoming Committee of Supply. Keep a lookout,” he added.
In the video, people were asked questions relating to MinLaw, such as its key leaders, the scope of responsibilities and requirements to join the department.
When asked who the minister of law is, quite a number couldn’t provide the name of Mr Shanmugam although some said, “That guy ah.” Next was Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Law and Ministry of Health, Mr Edwin Tong SC which someone thought was named “Albert.” The host asked, “Albert who?” The respondent said, “Einstein,” jokingly.
What does MinLaw do
A few thought it was the task of the Ministry of Law to train lawyers, handle police work or administer the law.
An elderly man was closer to the right answer when he said, “Help a lot of Singaporeans lah. They have a good reason to help the public lah.” Meanwhile, a woman said, “Establish the protocols of the laws and regulations of Singapore.”
It is the Ministry of Law’s mission to advance access to justice, the rule of law, the economy and society through policy, law and services, noted the video.
Regarding the scope of influence of MinLaw, people were asked if the ministry passed all the laws in Singapore and governed both the Supreme Court and State Courts. A good number of the respondents knew that different ministries pass their respective bills and that Singapore’s judiciary department is independent and separate from the executive department.
People were also asked if they knew how many lawyers there are in Singapore, which some thought were around 20,000 to 40,000. The right number, as of December 2019 was 7,178.
Respondents were then asked if being a lawyer was a prerequisite to working for the Ministry of Law. They knew the answer to be false. Only 15 per cent of those working in the Ministry of Law are lawyers.
“If one gets into a dispute with neighbours, do you seek help from MinLaw or Ministry of Home Affairs,” asked the host. Everyone thought it was Home Affairs when, in fact, it should be the Ministry of Law.
One hero did say to settle the matter herself, however, if it is too big to handle, the Ministry of Law provides community mediation service to resolve disputes amicably, which costs S$5.
Next was the question on legal aid, whether it was completely free at MinLaw. “False, it’s S$5,” said many, probably having misunderstood mediation services for disputes with legal aid in general.
The correct answer posted was, “Depending on the assisted persons’ income and assets, they may be required to pay a small financial contribution for the work done.”
Lastly, people were asked for examples of private information that could constitute the crime of doxing.
Watch the full video below:
What does the Ministry of Law do? How many lawyers are there in Singapore? Is legal aid completely free? 🤔We hit the streets to find out what Singaporeans know… or don’t know.
Posted by Ministry of Law, Singapore on Monday, February 24, 2020