Michael Farrugia: ‘I want to see less and less families materially deprived or at risk of poverty’

Michael Farrugia is minister for senior citizens and active agening, and a candidate on the 12th district

Labour MP and minister Michael Farrugia
Labour MP and minister Michael Farrugia

When and why did you decide to become active in politics? 

Coming from a humble working-class family and living my early years in sub-standard housing, I always saw the Partit Laburista and its socialist democratic ideals as beneficial for the country, particularly for the underprivileged. I became politically active in my late teens during my first years as a medical student; this coincided with when the doctors were out on strike. I worked hard and succeeded to secure the continuation of the medical school courses at the time.

What were the reasons that made you choose one political formation over another? 

In the Partit Laburista, I saw the fulfilment of my political aspirations; it is the party that is not afraid to make decisions and prioritise the people’s needs. The Partit Laburista has improved the nation’s standard of living and offered a safety net for the needy.

Under successive Labour governments, we saw the strengthening of the welfare state with free healthcare, the introduction and improvement of social benefits and pension, and free education from childcare up to tertiary education. 

Partit Laburista has championed and continues to promote civil liberties for all. Ultimately, thanks to the Partit Laburista, Maltese and Gozitans have made considerable progress in their economic and social wellbeing.

What inspires you in politics?

I want to see less and less families materially deprived or at risk of poverty. Before 2013, these numbers were skyrocketing. In 2014 as Minister for Family and Social Solidarity, we introduced several initiatives, the foremost of which was the pension reform, which year on year resulted in an additional increase in income on top and above the COLA increments. We brought in better-work conditions and the tapering of benefits while, at the same time, we managed to reduce energy tariffs significantly; this resulted in 20% fewer persons at risk of poverty and 70% fewer materially deprived individuals.

We have ambitious plans for the next legislature apart from improved pensions and social welfare. We will exponentially improve our country’s environment, create urban green lungs, and offer people of all ages greener, safer and more pleasant open spaces. 

How are you conducting your electoral campaign?

My electoral campaign started on day one after the 2017 election by staying close to the people. I am always honest with everyone, and I don’t promise the impossible. I let my results as a minister speak for themselves. 

What, in your view, are people’s concerns at the moment?

Remaining close to the electorate and sensing its needs has always been the benchmark of the Partit Laburista: we listen, we evaluate, and we implement. The far-reaching measures included in this year’s Partit Laburista’s electoral programme show how close the party is to the public’s concerns and aspirations. What we proposed in the 2013 and 2017 elections, we delivered. 

What are your personal expectations for the general election?

I intend to build on my track record of serving as a catalyst for change. I will continue to capitalise on my professional experience as a family doctor and on that of an experienced minister to remain loyal to the people and sensitive to their needs. 

I will work to fulfil the Partit Laburista’s electoral pledges, as this government is our country’s only hope to maintain its course of progress and momentum for an even better future.