[WATCH] Minister defends calling constituents on housing requests: 'I have every right to do this'

Roderick Galdes says he has every right to call applicants personally, 'especially among my constituents'

Housing Minister Roderick Galdes defended calling housing applicants personally to inform them that their requests were accepted, especially those in his constituency. 

Galdes said that he would call applicants as a way of maintaining a close relationship with his constituents. 

"I contact people who have come to me for help to inform them of their request. I think I have every right to do this as an MP and minister, especially among my constituents."

He added that the social housing process is rigorous, with requests decided by the autonomous Housing Authority. Only the Allocation Board within the authority can decide to allocate social accommodation. 

If the applicant was referred by the minister personally, he would eventually ring the person up when their application is accepted.

"My role is to meet with people. People elect you to listen to their social problems. My door remains open and as a politician I choose not to remove myself from people and keep to my desk without listening to them."

His comments come a week before Malta heads to the polls. While the current cabinet serves a caretaker administration until voting day, the Prime Minister and Finance Minister opted to send out stimulus and tax relief cheques two weeks before polling. 

Independent candidate Arnold Cassola has reported this practice to the Electoral Commission, arguing that it amounts to corrupt practice.

Malta’s General Election Act specifies that the giving of money or anything of monetary value to an elector, amounts to a corrupt practice when it also entices that elector to vote. The same goes for the practice of procuring jobs to voters during such elections.