Watch: Chris Said open to second-pillar pensions debate

PN leadership candidate outline pension proposals

Video: Chris Sant Fournier

Chris Said has said he is open to discussing the possibility of introducing second-pillar pensions but made it clear he is against increasing the retirement age. 

The Nationalist Party leadership candidate and Gozitan MP Chris Said outlined his plans for pensioners in a news conference at the PN club in Sliema this morning.

Dr Said said that he favoured introducing an allowance for people who cared for their grandchildren, sparing their parents from sending them to a childcare centre.

“Though the economy is booming, the wealth generated is not trickling down to this sector of society, and during this campaign I have come across many cases of pensioners struggling to make ends meet,” he said.

Asked about second pillar pensions – a fund system sustained by contributions from both workers and employers – Dr Said was non-committal but said he would be open to exploring such a measure.

Second-pillar pensions were first proposed years ago as part of the pension reform, but the idea has been put it on the backburner by successive administrations, amid huge objections from employers. However, while Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has come out strongly against second pillar pensions, the PN has adopted a more cautious approach saying they should be explored.

While Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has come out strongly against second-pillar pensions, the PN has adopted a more cautious approach.

'Nobody will set PN agenda'

Dr Said distanced himself from recent comments passed by Daphne Caruana Galizia on her blog involving journalists from PN media, saying they were “in bad taste”.

On the other hand, he said that certain revelations which Ms Caruana Galizia made, like those related to the Panama Papers, could not be ignored.

“Nonetheless, if I am elected leader, the PN will be setting its own agenda and nobody else, be it journalists or bloggers,” he said.

The leadership contestant was also asked about reports that lifetime PN members had been denied the right to vote in Saturday’s election.

He said that he had written to the electoral commission asking them to look into such claims, but that in its initial reply the commission had informed him that those denied a vote had either been asked to terminate their membership years ago, joined another party or else enrolled less than two years ago - the cut-off date to be eligible to vote.

Nonetheless, he said he would keep following these complaints, saying nobody should be denied the right to vote frivolously.

The Gozitan MP also reacted to claims by rival candidate Adrian Delia that outgoing leader Simon Busuttil was campaigning for him.

Dr Said insisted that he had come this far on his own steam. On the other hand, he welcomed the backing being given to him by those who had previously backed Alex Perici Calascion, who failed to make it to the electoral run-off.

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