Opposition will not be 'bribed' by government - Simon Busuttil

PN deputy leader Simon Busuttil says the Prime Minister’s proposal to appoint Opposition MPs to executive positions was intended to wipe out Opposition.

Simon Busuttil
Simon Busuttil

PN deputy leader Simon Busuttil said he expected the Labour government to return the Opposition's readiness to cooperate by treating the Opposition with respect.

"We will not allow the government to bribe the Opposition by accepting any executive roles offered to us," Busuttil said in his maiden speech.

"I cannot understand why Joseph Muscat wants to appoint Nationalist MPs to executive positions. As far as I know in a normal democracy, the government has the right and duty to govern and the Opposition has the duty to watch over the government," he said.

Likening the proposal to the way African governments operate, Busuttil said: "In a strong democracy, the Opposition holds the government accountable and therefore I am concerned at the Prime Minister's proposal because if he gives executive powers to the Opposition we will end up with a one party system and nobody will be in Opposition."

He added that the Opposition could give a contribution by having Opposition members sit on government boards as they already do at MEPA, in a transparent and accountable way, "appointed by the leader of the Opposition and not by the Prime Minister to divide and rule."

In a clear reference to former GWU official Mario Cutajar, lawyer Ramona Frendo and unionist John Bencini but without mentioning any names, Busuttil said that Labour's claims that it would be applying meritocracy in all appointments proved to be false.

"The government's appointments dished out to who endorsed Labour by appearing on billboards or addressing mass meetings claiming that Labour would apply meritocracy," Busuttil said.

While Cutajar was appointed head of the civil service, Frendo was appointed on the justice reform commission and Bencini was appointed MCESD chairperson.  

Busuttil pointed out the Opposition's decision to vote in favour of the budget "because it is in the national interest."

"Unfortunately the same cannot be said about the government who peppered the President's Sate Opening speech with partisan jibes and the same goes for the Prime Minister's speeches so far," Busuttil said.

Despite the government's denials, Busuttil insisted that the Labour government had increased the country's deficit by one percentage point by including the €66m in duties collected by Enemalta, risking putting Malta in the EU's Excessive Deficit Procedure.

Yesterday, the Finance Ministry said that the €66m in duties collected by Enemalta which were not passed on to the government last year were not included in the government's deficit.

In a statement, the ministry said that  the amount was shown as due from Enemalta in the government's accounts and it was also shown as owed to the government in the corporation's books.

However, despite the government's statement that the 3.3% of GDP deficit was based on the accruals systems as required by the EU and was not reached because of Enemalta's failure to hand over the tax payments, Busuttil shed doubt on the statement.

"We are not convinced with the government's explanation because up to a few days ago we were in government and we based our projections on the same statistics provided by the authorities," Busuttil said.

He stressed that the PN Opposition is also concerned with the deficit projected by the Labour government for 2013, set at 2.7% by finance minister Edward Scicluna, compared to the Nationalist administration's original projection of 1.7%.

Busuttil added that the Labour government was set to increase the national debt by €600 million in three years, noting that this contrasted with the previous administration's projections to reduce debt and achieve a budget surplus by 2016.

 

 

 

More in Budget 2013
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An absurd comment Mr.Busutill. The Maltese citizens have been bribed by the previous Government for a number of years. PN needs new vision and politics.
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" ... compared to the Nationalist administration's original projection of 1.7%." Dr. Busuttil should look before he leaps or else he is going to injure himself for eternity! He should look at the past projections of his Party presented at every Budget and see whether any one of the projections had ever been realised! But, then, even his and his ex-leader's 'money no problem' projection went berserk!
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The Opposition does not need to be bribed by the Government. It has proved time and time again that it has already succumbed to bribes and exorbitant handshakes over the years it was in Government. It has crucified the people but was extremely generous with the people's money to RCC, Shell Co, and to so many others in their clique.
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1 Euro cent politician! Not sure who this Franco is, but I guess he does not know much about Simon's CV. Hardly a 1 Euro cent politician. If anything I think that Simon has hit the nail on the head because he has identified the subtle intent of the PM in his offer to involve PN MP's in executive roles. It blurs the lines, which cannot be healthy for Democracy. Thinking people should understand the danger of this, instead of taking everything at face value. Read between the lines. That is what Simon is doing, and that is what a leader and intelligent politician is meant to do. That is what the PN voters want him to do.
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First they day that Malta Taghna Lkoll was only a slogan and when the PL seeks to apply it in such clear way S.Busuttil calls it a bribe. It seems that the people beind GonziPN cannot stomach a Malta for All!
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On numerous occasions the national debt was promised to be reduced by the PN and year after year the date was extended, and the aim was never achieved, now we learn the PN is bankrupt, if you can`t manage your own party how can you ever imagine to be taken seriously and to lead the nation. Hope you are elected.
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It's time to shed this divisive way of doing politics. The people voted for modern politics and not for old confrontational politics. PN needs a break from the past.
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The way forward for Dr. Simon Busuttil if elected PN Leader! What you see is what you get .... and hope he gets elected!
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It is obvious that this 1 euro cent politician cannot understand the fact that politics can be a uniting matter instead of a divisive one. I awgure Simon to become the next gonzipn leader as he will guarantee a long labour sojourn in government.