The government is committed to making sure everyone in Malta enjoys a good quality of life, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said on Sunday morning, insisting this would be its main priority moving forward.

Addressing Labour Party supporters in Mosta, Dr Muscat said the government’s main priority would be ensuring that the people’s ambitions and priorities are met.

“We do not scare people but we give them courage. That is why our families’ priorities are changing. Today, people’s biggest priorities aren’t jobs, high bills or the uncertainty of fluctuating fuel prices. They are now talking about a good quality of life.

“We will not just stop at talking about what we have managed to achieve, but about the quality of what we can do next,” he said.

While speaking about plans for the future, Dr Muscat insisted that it is also important “to keep in mind where we were when we left off”.

“We had 7,000 people had been registering for work. Today, that number has been reduced to 1,800 people,” he said, adding that young people and women who joined the workforce for the first time also managed to find work. 

On poverty, Dr Muscat said that this was a reality which the party believed could be combated through work, education but also through social services.

“We inherited a situation where 43,000 people could not lead a decent life. Of these, three of every four who were in such a state are no longer in that situation. We still have 14,000 people and we will keep working until there will no longer be a single person who is experiencing poverty,” Dr Muscat said.

"What others created in 25 years, we exceeded in just a couple of years," he iterated.

“That is why people trust us. That is why people’s priorities change and develop. No wonder the people are not worried about the island’s economy,” he said.

The government’s strength, he said, came from the good teamwork among its members. If one person erred, he insisted, the others stood by them.

Environment, housing initiatives

Referring to the project to create an open space in Ta’ Qali, announced earlier this week, Dr Muscat said once completed, the space would be equivalent to a third of London’s Hyde Park.

“We will be planting more than 100,000 trees in total,” Dr Muscat said, referring to other projects in other places on the island, including Birżebbugia.

On social housing, Dr Muscat said that the decision to have more housing would enable more people to have their own homes, insisting however that abuse would not be tolerated, with programmes designed specifically to help people get back on their feet to continue educating those in need.

Referring to a ward at St Vincent De Paul for those who receive treatment there even though they are still young, Dr Muscat said that during the week he saw first-hand the need for investment there.

“We will not just leave them there. We will continue to ensure that they enjoy a good life. We want to encourage them to get out from their beds and instead have them in an environment where they can interact with people their own age. We hope to encourage them and to provide them with all the help they need so that they return to living with the community. That is our vision,” he said.

Throughout this campaign, the Prime Minister added, he was happy to see that the Labour Party was speaking about things that mattered, instead of wasting time scaring people.

“I ask you to look closely at what is being said. Others have yet to discover what their principles are and so what they say is contradictory. They end up with a hotchpotch of declarations,” Dr Muscat said.

In the past week, some from the PN again said they are not sorry about the lies they invented about him and his wife, he said, in reference to the Egrant allegations.

“I don’t need an apology. My family and I know what we went through. But there should be an apology made to the Maltese people,” he went on.

On calls to publish the Egrant inquiry report in full, Dr Muscat reiterated that he would be following the instructions of the Attorney General, adding it was a matter of ‘when’ the report is published and not ‘if’.

“I will never forget driving past a balcony and seeing a poster of me and my wife behind bars and my daughter asking me what she would do if we were to go to prison,” Dr Muscat said.

The answer to those who are still trying to unearth such a lie will be given to these people on May 25.

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