The PL would acknowledge mistakes, Muscat says
A Labour government would admit mistakes when it made them and not try score political points at all costs, PL leader Joseph Muscat said this evening.
Dr Muscat used a party activity in Xghajra to call on local politicians to "sober up" and not turn the last two weeks of the electoral campaign into a "mud-slinging contest".
"When a mistake has been made, the government should own up to it and take action. That action could take the form of a resignation or other remedial action. But politicians cannot constantly try score political goals at all costs," he said.
Dr Muscat's appeal came at the end of a question and answer session he and PL deputy leader Louis Grech held with audience members. The two party leaders fielded questions on a variety of PL proposals.
One audience member asked about ongoing disputes concerning port workers' pension fund and outstanding overtime owed to members of the police corps.
Dr Muscat said the PL would seek to resolve the port worker fund issue "without existing workers losing out on anything" and also vowed to reach a settlement on outstanding police overtime.
But he made it clear that resolving these and similar problems afflicting ex-service workers would take time. "We cannot do in five years what others failed to do in 40," he said.
He said the PL would close Marsa's power station, which is currently running on borrowed time, thanks to the party's "clear time frames and planning". Residents in environmentally deprived areas would also be compensated for years of neglect through environmental projects in their localities, Dr Muscat added.
Answering a question from a mobility-impaired former MCAST student, Dr Muscat said equality was "a right, not a favour" and promoted the PL's proposal to guarantee disability pensions even if their recipients found paid work.
Pensioners' quality of life would improve through the 35 per cent electricity bill reduction the PL would guarantee them, as well as the party's pledge to gradually raise the minimum pension to 60 per cent of the national average wage, he said. A law standardising standards of care within residential homes would also be enacted, he added.
Dr Muscat said the PL envisioned an arts college for promising young artists. The college would be built on the model of the already-existing sports college for young athletes, he said. The PL would also encourage post-graduate study by doubling the existing tax credit doctoral students were eligible for, he said.
Deputy leader Mr Grech said the PL would direct much of its energy towards raising Malta's labour participation rate, noting that the party had pledged to have 75 per cent of the working-age population in paid work by 2020.
Dr Muscat said the PL's manifesto was achievable in its entirety. "There were several things we would have liked to include but left out. We want to be realistic. All our proposals are achievable," he said.