Muscat calls on Busuttil to face up to leadership test, says government has duty to appeal judgment on MPs

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat calls on Simon Busuttil to face up to leadership test, says government has duty to appeal court's judgment on MPs

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has today announced that the private sector will be involved in new strategic areas, arguing that the government’s intervention in Enemalta should not be a lone example.

Addressing the Labour faithful in Zurrieq, the prime minister also called on his counterpart Simon Busuttil to face up to “his own leadership test,” and said that the PN leader should shoulder responsibility for the scandals that took place during the PN’s tenure.

Taking a swipe at Simon Busuttil, Muscat said the PN leader should face to his “own leadership test” and shoulder responsibility after a report found that former home affairs minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici prevented disciplinary proceedings against soldiers involved in the death of an asylum seeker, a year before the 2012 death of Malian asylum seeker Mamadou Kamara.

Joseph Muscat also argued that the PN leader still has a “lot to answer for”, more so after a recent inquiry revealed that Nationalist MP Toni Bezzina had allegedly asked government workers to do work in a PN club, and later forced them to sign a false declaration.

Muscat said that rather than shoulder responsibility; Busuttil instead awarded them roles within the party.  

The prime minister also argued that just as the government was pivotal in saving Enemalta, the public sector should be involved more in a number of strategic sectors. Without divulging the “strategic sectors” in mind and the measures to be carried out, Muscat insisted that had it not been for the government’s intervention, Enemalta would have suffered a similar fate to Sea Malta and the Drydocks.

As a result, Muscat argued that this should not a be a lone example, but conversely, should be a platform for the public sector to reform and become more efficient to safeguard the private sector and the workers.

He explained that the system needs to be more flexible and more focused on achieving results, rather than discipline.  Outlining the government’s work, a bullish Muscat said Malta was performing an “economic miracle” because it had posted a reduction in its unemployment and debt levels.

Moreover, he said, salaries were increasing, while the cost of living was controlled.

Turning his attention on last Friday’s court judgment on MPs, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat explained that the results of the March 2013 general election originally meant a 13-seat advantage for the governing Labour Party. However, in line with the principle of proportionality, the PN were allocated four extra parliamentary seats to reflect the 36,000-vote difference.

While insisting that the principle of proportionality is “just and fair,” the prime minister played down the judgment describing it “as a case where 50 votes were placed in a different batch.” Nevertheless, the prime minister expressed no qualms about the repercussions of the judgment, saying the government will respect the court’s judgment.

“The judgment does not worry the government as it has a comfortable majority over the PN. However, such a decision could set a dangerous precedent: If this happened during the last legislature, when the PN had won by 1,000 votes, the government would have collapsed as the PN would have had a one seat deficit,” he argued.

Muscat also called on the electorate to vote for the Labour Party during the upcoming local council elections on April 11, arguing that it is an opportunity for the people to show Simon Busuttil what their true views are.

“The Labour Party is going into the local council elections as the underdog because it has a deficit of six seats. Rest assured however, the Labour Party will not shy away from a challenge,” Muscat rallied.