[WATCH] ‘Sports a major pillar in Labour’s plans,’ Muscat tells youths

Prime minister Joseph Muscat says that the Labour Party has countless proposals aimed at promoting local sports and encouraging more students and professionals to pursue a sport discipline

Sport will be one of the important pillars of a new Labour administration, and proposals being put forward by the Labour Party would ensure greater participation in sports activities by more students and professionals, prime minister Joseph Muscat said tonight.

Muscat, who was addressing young PL supporters at an activity in Zejtun organised by the Forum Zghazagh Laburisti, said that his party was committed to ensure that all students engage in some sport discipline up to the age of 16.

“We will continue to offer our full support to the National School of Sport but we will also introduce the concept of sport leave, so that athletes representing Malta in any discipline at a certain level, will be able to benefit from leave from their work to participate in sport events,” he said. “This leave will be paid by the government.”

Muscat said the Labour Party was also proposing the building of an indoor pool in Cottonera and three additional pools in Marsaxlokk, Marsascala and St Julians.

“We have also proposed a racing track for sports cars in Ta Qali, a new state-of-the-art shooting range in Ta’ Kandja and new football grounds in Naxxar and Marsa,” he said. “A new project in Luqa will see us transforming the former waste disposal site into a business hub for small enterprises, a family park and a new football ground for Valletta FC.”

Muscat said that the government would also seek to finalise an agreement with Paola’s Hibernian’s FC for the building of a new football ground that would be complemented by an adjacent rugby pitch.

“I want the youth in this country to join me as we continue to change this country, convinced – as I am – that this country’s best days are yet to come,” he said.

With regards to benefits for disabled persons, Muscat said history showed it was the Labour Party that first pushed society to overcome the prevalent stigma against disabled persons.

“Although to be honest, recent Nationalist governments, particularly under Lawrence Gonzi, did a lot to ensure social inclusion for all persons,” he said. “What we did in this administration was to provide the necessary incentives and stimulus for 1,000 disabled persons to find employment,” he said.

Muscat said the Labour Party was now proposing to develop small community homes in various towns and villages to house disabled persons. Labour had also vowed that families, included a disabled person, who purchased a new home would not pay any taxes whatsoever on the purchase.

As to first-time buyers, the Labour Party leader said the party was committed to assisting couples purchasing their first home and who might not afford the 10% deposit required when applying for a loan.

When asked about the participation of women in local politics, the prime ministers’ wife, Michelle, said that when she had attended the university some 25 years ago, there were few students who felt safe to express their political beliefs if they were Labour supporters.

“At the political leaders’ debate yesterday, students showed us that things are finally changing even at University and that they are willing to speak up in defence of their beliefs and their rights,” she said.

Michelle Muscat said that throughout her life, she had always sought ways and means to give something back to society and would continue to do so even when her husband was no longer prime minister.

The prime minister too thanked university students and members of the FZL for helping to make the political leaders debate at University into a celebration of democracy.

FZL announced the launch of a new mobile app named Joseph Muscat, that can be downloaded to smartphones for users to be able to be receive latest news about the election campaign and upcoming events.