Muscat says he will extend term of building permits

Sees contradictions in PM's statements on the economy

Dr Muscat replies to questions in Sta Venera.

Prime minister Lawrence Gonzi was sending directly contrasting messages on the economy, vowing to balance the budget by 2015 despite the government's own projections forecasting a 49 million deficit for that year, Labour leader Joseph Muscat said this evening.

"The left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing," Dr Muscat said, pointing out that the €49 million estimate was included in latest November's budgetary projections.


Dr Muscat, speaking in a public One TV interview, said that a PL government would extend pending development permits beyond their current five-year expiry deadline, giving developers and individuals breathing room and not forcing them to forge ahead with developments no longer suited to the current property market.

He said a scandal concerning commissions given for oil procurement contracts was likely "just the tip of the iceberg" and he predicted that more revelations would come to the fore once a whistleblower act was passed.

"Unfortunately this government found the time to build a new parliament but had no time to pass a whistleblower act," he said to applause from the Santa Venera crowd.

He said the widespread availability of community housing for the disabled would be the focal point of a PL government's social policy.

"Our small size works in our favour. There is no reason why Malta can't become a model country in this regard," he said. "We need to give parents of disabled children the peace of mind that our society will not abandon their children once they pass away."

Dr Muscat also reiterated his willingness to retain "capable and willing" government-appointed heads if elected.

He also drew parallels between Dom Mintoff and Eddie Fenech Adami, saying both men were crucial for their time. "Mintoff reached his apex when Malta became a republic, Fenech Adami when we entered the EU. Much of the 80s was lost time for this country, and so too was the time after EU accession. because there was no vision."



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