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Muscat: no wage rises for MPs or ministers

Commission would be set up to scrutinise pay packets

There will be no increases in the pay packets of ministers and MPs in the next legislature, Joseph Muscat pledged yesterday.

The Labour leader said an independent commission would be set up to analyse the pay packets of MPs and ministers but insisted there would be no rises if people chose a Labour government.

“I have made this clear to all our candidates. I told them they were not in this for the money but to offer a service,” he said.

Dr Muscat was being interviewed under a tent in Mqabba by TV presenter Miriam Dalli.

He said the Nationalist Party was panicking and had no proposals yet. He was reacting to Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi’s comment to The Times in Berlin that his Government intended to reduce bills (see front page).

“First they told us it is impossible to lower utility bills, then they told us our proposal is a gimmick and now they are saying they will do the same,” he said.

Dr Muscat said that people had every right not to trust him if he awarded MPs and ministers an increase behind their backs.

He said that after three days of electioneering the PN could only come up with a manifesto that had no concrete proposals. This week, the PN launched its manifesto with guidelines on which the electoral programme with detailed proposals will be drawn up.

When he arrived in Mqabba’s main square, Dr Muscat was given a rousing welcome but he tempered their jubilation and asked them to continue working until the last minute.

“May I remind you that the Labour Party is the underdog in this election and we have to continue working until the very end to persuade people to vote for us,” he said.

Dr Muscat said he did not aspire to lead half a country if elected Prime Minister and wanted the morrow of the election to be a normal day.

“Freedom Day is as much a Labour feast as a Nationalist one. Independence is my national day as any Nationalist’s,” he said, reiterating the message he delivered at the start of the campaign on Monday.

“I hope we arrive at a stage in my generation where a Labourite can celebrate Independence just like any Nationalist and a Nationalist will celebrate Republic Day like any Labourite would,” he said, adding that politicians had a duty to lead by example.

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