Government’s attacks on PN expose 'panic' – Busuttil

PN leader Simon Busuttil says government’s lies and attacks on the opposition showed it is in panic

PN leader Simon Busuttil Photo: Ray Attard
PN leader Simon Busuttil Photo: Ray Attard

The Labour government is in “panic,” PN leader Simon Busuttil said, pointing out that its television spots on the direct orders awarded to the opposition leader under previous administrations showed that government was under pressure.

“When I see government’s obscene attacks and lies on the opposition and myself it means that the PN’s message is getting through and our criticism is hitting home,” Busuttil said in a lengthy interview on the party’s radio station.

Earlier this week, Busuttil filed a libel suit against Labour over the television ads claiming he benefitted from €1.5 million in direct orders because he was close to the Nationalist Party.

The opposition leader said that despite being elected on a platform of meritocracy and accountability, political and ethical standards had suffered an unprecedented dip since Labour was elected to office.

“That’s why we need to send a message that we’re getting stronger because this country deserves a government that upholds standards.”

Describing the Cyrus Engerer case as “Joseph Muscat’s government’s lowest point in 14 months,” Busuttil warned that Muscat’s double standards in defending the former Labour candidate after receiving a two-year suspended sentence for disseminating private and compromising photos of his former boyfriend.

“Through his actions, the prime minister is damaging politics because people will no longer trust politicians,” he said, adding that Muscat was turning the aggressor into a victim and a hero.

Insisting that next week’s European elections would decide who takes decisions which have a direct bearing on people’s lives, Busuttil urged voters to “go out and vote for who you want to defend the country’s best interests in the European Parliament.”

The PN would not “waste’ its time on the opposition benches, Busuttil said, pointing out a number of issues raised by the party and its efforts to introduce new legislation such as the right for patients to receive treatment in private hospitals through the EU cross border healthcare directive.

Busuttil said that unlike the previous Labour opposition, the PN would not wait for the 2018 elections to come forward with new proposals and vote for legislation which it agrees with.

“In these 14 months we were a constructive and effective opposition which influenced government’s decisions,” Busuttil said as he went through a list of initiatives the PN took in recent months, including the Parliamentary motion to block development besides the scheduled temples at Ta’ Hagrat in Mgarr and the Constitutional amendment to make any discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation unlawful.

On the other hand, the PN leader said the Labour administration is “false and politically dishonest,” adding that government was “caught lying on three occasions last week alone.”

Busuttil said the government “is only concerned with spreading its propaganda and brainwashing the people.” However, he noted, the people will soon see through government’s “double-speak” and realise that the opposition was in a better position to govern the country in four years time. 

He also warned that government should not be allowed to “destroy” Air Malta by undermining the restructuring process by transferring employees and placing Labour insiders in important positions.

“If Air Malta goes bust it would not be disastrous for the tourism sector but for the country’s entire economy,” Busuttil said.