Let’s vote in Parliament now, Muscat insists on PM
Opposition Leader Joseph Muscat urged the Prime Minister to bring draft laws before Parliament now that the Nationalist Party’s leadership contest against “Casper the friendly ghost” was over.
Dr Muscat called on the government to discuss and vote this week on Labour’s motion on justice, saying that failing to do so would show the PN leadership exercise was “a waste of time”.
“If he doesn’t do this, then Lawrence Gonzi will confirm that he came out of this process (the leadership election) with bigger problems than when he started,” Dr Muscat told a political activity in Żurrieq.
While poking fun at the fact that Dr Gonzi was the only candidate in the leadership election, Dr Muscat pointed out that the Prime Minister now faced a bigger problem.
“If he thought he had problems with just one MP, now he will realise that there are problems with two or three,” Dr Muscat said in a veiled reference to MPs Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando and Jesmond Mugliett who were among 12 who did not collect their voting documents.
Speaking on the restructuring of Air Malta, Dr Muscat said the only solution to the crisis faced by the national airline, caused by 25 years of wrong decisions under a Nationalist government, was to reduce its only assets: slots at airports.
He called on the government to explain its tourism strategy, a sector that Dr Muscat said should fall in the same ministerial portfolio as that responsible for Air Malta. “Who will bring tourists to Malta if the flights and slots are being reduced? Who will we fall back on? Will the government subsidise low-cost airlines? We must be told,” he said.
Air Malta employees, who were reassured of their jobs before the last election, were worried. However, Dr Muscat said, he was convinced that the airline could have a future, especially under a Labour government.
He spoke about the roadworks bribery case – a “scandal” where a roadwork company is accused of defrauding Transport Malta of more than €500,000 over 20 contracts. “This is the tip of the iceberg,” Dr Muscat said.
Referring to the upcoming local council elections, he called on families to vote again for councils that gave their best but, if they were unsatisfied, to vote for new Labour candidates.
Labour-led councils would, within five days, reply to complaints filed by residents and, if need be, guide them to the correct authorities, he said.
The Nationalist Party said in reply that the “clear and strong” results of the leadership vote did not go down well with Dr Muscat who “superficially” tried to ridicule an election that was open to all.
The Transport Ministry insisted that a Nationalist government fought corruption, leaving it up to the competent authorities to investigate. In fact, the police suspected fraud in the transport authority’s directorate and was given complete access to investigate.
The fact that a Transport Malta employee was arraigned clearly showed that abuse was not tolerated, the ministry said.