[WATCH] Prime Minister in switchers reachout once again, as Konrad Mizzi extolls energy success

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, appearing on Pjazza fi Pjazza, appealed to those who voted Labour for the first time in 2013 to acknowledge the administration’s successes

Labour leader Joseph Muscat participates in Pjazza fi Pjazza (Photo: Chris Mangion/MediaToday)
Labour leader Joseph Muscat participates in Pjazza fi Pjazza (Photo: Chris Mangion/MediaToday)

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has once again reached out to those who voted Labour for the first time in 2013, insisting that people needed to realise that there were very high stakes at play in Saturday’s election.

According to Muscat, they needed to come to terms with what they could loose if the Nationalist Party returned to government.

Taking part in Pjazza fi Pjazza in Birzebbugia – where OPM minister Konrad Mizzi made a rare appearance to extoll Labour’s energy successes – Muscat said that the PL campaign was focusing on telling people what was at stake: the risks involved if the PN won the election and the possible benefits of another Labour government, including the creation of more jobs, greater investment, more tourism and a better quality of life across the board.

“People need to understand the chaos that could turn out to be a realistic scenario if the same people who created the country’s problems were voted into power once again,” he said.

The improvements in the Cottonera was evidence of the work the government had carried out in the past four years, bringing huge investment to the area and pushing through an extensive embellishment undertaking.

In Birzebbugia alone, the government shut down the oil tanks, built a football pitch, was building a ground, made it clear the Malta Freeport should not encroach on the residential area.

On comments made during Sunday’s mass meeting by former Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi – who noted Muscat’s success in various sectors – Muscat said the success achieved was not his but of all those who had voted for the Labour Party in 2013.

Muscat appealed to those that voted Labour for the first time four years ago.

“We made some mistakes, true, but we did so much good,” he said. “I am confident that, if we continue to work, if we all come together, if everyone continues to insist that people go and vote this Saturday, we will be able to prove that truly, the country’s best days are yet to come.”

A video clip of Swedish prime minister Stefan Lofven endorsing Muscat was also screened. He described Muscat as a true social democrat, constantly working to provide jobs for people while at the same time ensuring society remain fair and just.

Lofven recorded a video message praising the work and success of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who was present for the discussion programme in Birzebbugia.

In his message, Lofven said that he had worked closely with Muscat on a number of occasions and that he had come to realise that the Labour leader was a true social democrat and that he enjoyed working with him.

“I appreciate and admire the work Joseph’s government has done under the current Maltese presidency of the EU,” he said. “Although Malta is a relatively small country, it is doing such a tremendous job.”

On energy, surplus and the minimum wage

Former energy minister Konrad Mizzi said that the Labour government had delivered on all its electoral promises in the energy sector, including building a gas power plant, shutting down the Marsa power station, switching from heavy fuel oil to gas and reducing emissions.

He said that, in a couple of months, the Marsa power station would have been completely dismantled.

“The government is currently in discussions with the local council on how to embellish the area,” he said. “The same will happen here in Birzebbugia where we have shut down the fuel tanks, addressing some major concerns of residents.”

John Bencini, chairperson of the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development, said he had welcomed calls by the prime minister last year to raise the minimum wage.

The Council, he said, immediately set upon debating the issue among all social partners, including employers and unions, until a unanimous consensus was reached.

Desiree Cassar, a lawyer specialising in direct and indirect taxation, said that not only was it not true that financial services in Malta were hanging by a thread but – in fact – Malta has become an example of economic and financial success across the world.

She recalled that the government’s cautious and measured approach to public spending had resulted in a financial surplus, for the first time in decades, that had even surprised ratings agency Moody’s.

When Labour came to government, the country was facing excessive deficit procedures by the EU, which was overcome by June 2015.

Moody’s, Cassar said, had attributed the government’s success in registering a surplus to a higher income from taxes – despite the lower taxes – higher profits registered by businesses, higher family income and the income received through the IIP scheme,” she said.