Busuttil could take ‘necessary steps’ against Pullicino

Opposition leader promises to build a PN that is close to the people, with no nepotism and 'policies built on the truth', criticises government’s ‘lies’ and 58c COLA increase

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil said that he will take ‘necessary steps’ against Nationalist MP and former resources minister George Pullicino if the Police Commissioner finds a case against him.  

“However, if the Commissioner doesn’t find a case against him, then I expect [Energy Minister] Konrad Mizzi or [Prime Minister] Joseph Muscat to shoulder the political responsibility,” Busuttil said in the closing speech of the PN’s first national convention that they organized to listen to the ideas of people outside the party. 

The case refers to administrative shortcomings in relation to a €35 million contract awarded to the Alberta Photovoltaic Consortium just before the March 2013 elections. Mizzi revealed these shortcomings, which include an unsigned bank document, during a Parliament debate to discuss the government’s failure to meet the original deadline for the construction of a new power station.

“Konrad Mizzi had no response to our parliamentary questions about the gas power station, so he wiped his hands clean and pointed a finger at Pulliciino,” Busuttil said. “These are the same tactics that Muscat used to use when he was in Opposition.”  

Busuttil made what appeared to be an early pre-electoral promise.

“I promise you that the PN will truly become a party that is close to the people, not only in Opposition but in government as well,” Busuttil told a room of cheers. “It must become part of our cultural mindset from now.

"I am not here because I lied but because I told the truth. Our policies will be based on the truth because if they're not then what's the point?" 

He also said that he plans to remove nepotism from politics. He pointed to cases such as the employment of Sai Mizzi as a trade envoy to China, Michelle Muscat’s friend as the Malta Tourism Authority’s New York representative, and Joe Mizzi’s sister-in-law as a cleaner in a department that falls under his political responsibility.

“Nepotism is a form of corruption, because it is injust to the people who don’t get the job, simply because they’re not close to certain people,” Busuttil said. 

'Muscat's proposed power station is a factory of lies' 

Busuttil once again criticised the government’s delay in the construction of a new gas power station.

“Muscat called the Delimara power station a cancer factory but I call his proposed power station a factory of lies,” Busuttil said. “He said it would be completed by March 2015 and that he would resign if it wasn’t. Both were lies.”

While Busuttil admitted that the economy was growing, he pointed to some ‘worrying signals’.

“Shop sales are dropping, Malta’s recent decrease in industrial production was the worst in Europe, and our import and export levels have sunk,” Busuttil said. “Meanwhile, the national debt has increased by €500 million in six months alone. While unemployment is indeed low, but the government employed 3700 people in the public sector in one year, the cost for which is coming out of our taxes.”

“Despite Labour’s promises, poverty has increased by thousands of people since they’ve been in government,” Busuttil added. “Then the government has the nerve to say that the COLA will only increase by 58c a week. That is as much as an SMS on Super One costs.”

He also criticised the government for allowing a gas tanker to remain docked in Marsaxklokk bay, ignoring the PN’s calls for a second pillar pension scheme, allowing traffic to increase, halting the construction of a school, and harming Malta’s international respect- both selling Maltese citizenship and by telling Europe to ‘wake up and smell the coffee’ over Malta’s immigration problems. 

Busuttil said that the PN is undergoing a renewal period, such as in the expansion of its general council, the rebranding of Media.Link, the early announcement of 12 fresh candidates for the next general election and the setting up of 10 policy fora to design the party’s policies. He said that the Nationalist Party had learnt from the mistakes it had made while in government, and admitted that the party’s stance on social issues such as divorce and civil unions could have excluded some people.
“Everyone makes mistakes,” Busuttil said. “However, we must now show the people that we’ve learnt from ours. We are competing against an adversary [Muscat] who promises everything to everyone, making our job a difficult one.” 

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