A legally rigged system for the PLPN | Ralph Cassar

For those who choose to forget, who see politics as one long party, with lots of flag waving and loud music, 2006 is ‘the past’. But it is the past which is still ruining our present and future

File photo
File photo

The election – rigged, legally of course, to favour the PLPN cabal – has come and gone.

The pressing issues – which some sections of the press find dull and boring, preferring to peddle clickbait and advertorials signed off by journalists – such as which burger in Malta is the tastiest, to which candidate or MP uttered ‘fuck’ on Facebook, remain there. Pending. On hold. Waiting.

Recently, EP President Roberta Metsola repeated what we have been saying all along – that Malta’s tax haven setup is on its way out and untenable. The name-calling and idiotic refrains from PLPN supporters do not bother us, more so because what we have been saying all along is now just around the corner.

The Maltese taxation system favours companies or individuals who want to shirk their responsibilities and evade taxes in the countries they operate and do business in. All legally. They transfer profits to their own ‘do-nothing’ companies based in Malta, registered on some lawyer’s address and contribute an effective 5% on their income to the national coffers.

On the other hand, companies actually based and operating in Malta and their employees contribute a third of their income to our healthcare system, our education system, our infrastructure, our social programmes, and the general running of the state. It should be of no surprise that others find our country’s facilitiation of a massive, multibillion tax evasion operation unacceptable. Whether we like it or not we are not in a position to continue with this business as usual. PLPN brag that they are ‘united’ on ‘defending’ Malta’s tax piracy.

Good luck with your defence then! Nationalistic and jingoistic rhetoric will get us nowhere. Some ask, ‘what’s the alternative?’ The alternative is a diversified socially and ecologically responsible economy, not an overdependence on financial tricks and an ‘offshore’ system in all but name.

Another festering wound is the rampant building frenzy. Words come easy – vide the lofty declarations by the PLPN during the election campaign. PN pundits take exception when someone mentions the 2006 attack on the Maltese environment. They say that it is a long time ago. For those who choose to forget, who see politics as one long party, with lots of flag waving and loud music, 2006 is ‘the past’. But it is the past which is still ruining our present and future.

Will the Nationalists in parliament propose a motion for redrawing the development boundaries and saving what’s left? Will government revise the development boundaries? When will the long overdue revision of local plans take place? Don’t hold your breath. Tied to the building frenzy is the shameful sale of passports – pushing up property prices, encouraging more and more development and, once again, showing the lack of economic ideas and innovation.

Here again, PLPN offer different versions of the same thing: the sale of passports will continue until we are forced to stop. Until we are called to the headmaster’s office. Long forgotten are the PN’s Maltese flag-waving and ‘citizenship not for sale’ protests. In the meantime, people who have long settled here, who contribute through their work and taxes to our country, whose children are effectively Maltese, speak Maltese as well as any of us, and whose only home is Malta, are denied citizenship capriciously – because there is not clear path to citizenship. It is awarded on the whim of the minister responsible.

There is also our constitution and laws which allow our country’s institutions to be controlled by the Prime Minister, as if we’re still a British colony run on the whims of Her Majesty’s Governor. Then there are the tailor-made electoral laws designed and manipulated over the years, with the complicity of assorted apparatchiks, academics from the University of Malta and various pundits, to maintain one of the highest effective thresholds in Europe, with additional ‘proportionality’ and ‘corrective’ mechanisms applied only to the PLPN cabal. For all the excitement by the usual suspects about ‘new faces’ in Parliament, these will perpetuate the status quo, defend the indefensible and will not change the most important thing in a truly functioning democracy: the system.

There are other pressing issues: sustainable mobility and climate change being two of the most important because of their effect on our quality of life. I might write another dull and boring article about these soon. In the meantime, we can continue reading about which MP stubbed their toe, who eats the biggest sausage rolls, assorted pundits analyzing which stunt was the most effective during the election campaign, and some narcissists telling all and sundry that they would have saved the world had they been given the chance.