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Muscat defends Labour’s governing credentials, says PN has no vision

Interviewed on One Radio, Joseph Muscat hails the island’s growing economy and Malta’s green ranking in a Yale-based study but steers clear of the controversial magisterial nominations

Miriam Dalli
7 February 2016, 11:44am
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat interviewed on ONE Radio.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat interviewed on ONE Radio.
A 30-minute interview with Prime Minister Joseph Muscat sought to remind the party faithful that the government was working hard for the economic development of the country while the Nationalist Party was “negative”.

Aired on ONE radio, the interview however steered clear of the controversial magisterial nominations that dominated headlines over the past days, one of which was also doubted by the Commission for the Administration of Justice.

Instead, he spoke of the Labour Party’s decision to allow an MP to run for deputy leader for party affairs, the European Commission’s positive winter economic forecast, the appointment of the Environment Resources Authority board and the PN’s “exceptional circumstances” to developing ODZ land.

“ODZ is no longer ODZ for Simon Busuttil who, lest we forget, forms part of the party that constantly used ODZ land for development. Some may have thought that Busuttil saw the light on road to Damascus but now, after insisting no more development, he said there will be exceptions.”

Muscat said the only project proposed by the Labour government on ODZ land was that of Sadeen’s university in Zonqor point.

The Labour leader insisted that Busuttil’s objection to the project had not been out of love for the environment “but because his only strategy is that of hindering government’s work.”

“[Busuttil] doesn’t have a vision and people don’t want leaders who go waving handkerchiefs,” Muscat said, referring to last Sunday’s political activity during which the PN leader showed his audience a “100-year-old handkerchief” carrying his party’s emblem.

“People want governments who work to improve people’s quality of life and eradicate poverty. I want the wealth to be enjoyed by future generations to be the legacy I leave behind.”

He questioned whether Busuttil, if elected to power, would ask people to pay back the VAT vehicle registration refund. “Busuttil said this refund was ‘corruption’ … if this is corruption I expect him to ask people to give back the money.”

Muscat said the government was able to wipe off the debt accumulated in three years by the previous administration.

He said, that people had been surprised by the nominations to the board of the Environment Resources Authority – chaired by Victor Axiak, former head of the Church’s environment commission – as one thought “we would be appointing stooges”.

Asked about the changes to the party’s statute, Muscat said the party should renew itself voluntarily, and not when it is forced to do so. “Society is ever-changing and we need to change with it.” He added that the changes will make the party "future-proof".

Miriam Dalli graduated in communications studies from the University of ...