This morning I read a less than impressive post by one of the new socio-political pages that have popped up recently. To me, it showed a clear lack of understanding by the author (link) of politics.

In a huge screw up, the author stated that Minister Shanmugam’s comments on AHPETC could be seen as “contempt of Judge Quentin Loh’s judgment”. He added that “the role of the Law Minister is Legislative, and even though he is in power to write new laws, the Law Minister has no jurisdiction over the Executive”. So here, ladies and gentlemen, is a Separation of Powers 101.

What is Separation of powers

Separation of powers is basically a model for governance of a state. A typical model consists of 3 branches:-

1) The legislature

2) The executive

3) The judiciary

Generally, the legislature refers to the law-making body or Parliament in Singapore’s case. The executive on the other hand is the authority responsible fot the administration of the state i.e. The Cabinet. And lastly, the judiciary is the Courts.

So what does this tell you? Minister Shanmugam is part of the Legislative and Executive so he actually does have jurisdiction over the Executive. However, he should not have jurisdiction over the judiciary since it is an independent body.

Hope you’ve learnt something today as it is particularly disturbing that a person who stood for election did not know about it.