Update 3 | Untrue Busuttil told Sai Mizzi of 'disappointment', government claims

Unimpressed by Huawai memorandum of understanding, Simon Busuttil meets Sai Mizzi Liang at Shanghai consulate • Mizzi Liang briefs Simon Busuttil on investment attraction from Asia

Sai Mizzi Liang with Opposition leader Simon Busuttil and Tonio Fenech
Sai Mizzi Liang with Opposition leader Simon Busuttil and Tonio Fenech
A delegation from the Nationalist Party meets Sai Mizzi Liang at the consul in Shanghai
A delegation from the Nationalist Party meets Sai Mizzi Liang at the consul in Shanghai
Sai Mizzi Liang welcomes Opposition leader Simon Busuttil
Sai Mizzi Liang welcomes Opposition leader Simon Busuttil

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil has met Malta’s consul to Shanghai, Sai Mizzi Liang, at the new consulate offices in the Chinese city, in which he expressed his “disappointment” at the special envoy’s inability to bring about investment in “various sectors” two years since her appointment.

His statement, issued by the PN, comes on the back of a memorandum of understanding signed with Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei to start testing 5G in Malta, hailed as the first recognizable achievement for Mizzi Liang since her controversial appointment as trade envoy to Shanghai.

But according to government sources, Busuttil never expressed such a disappointment with Mizzi Liang.

“No such conversation ever took place,” the sources said, adding that the meeting was cordial, informative and that consul answered questions put to her by Busuttil and PN deputy leader Beppe Fenech Adami.

Mizzi Liang flew back to Shanghai to meet Busuttil, who is on a political visit to China, to meet the Opposition leader at the recently acquired €2 million offices in Shanghai. Government sources claimed that Mizzi Liang was first asked to meet the Opposition leader's delegation in his hotel, before agreeing to tour the new consulate office.

“Millions have been spent on Joseph Muscat’s nepotism, where jobs are granted to people close to him only, with taxpayers getting nothing back in return,” Busuttil said, referring to the appointment of the energy minister’s wife.

“It is clear that various people who were eligible for this role were passed over, and instead the Prime Minister chose someone close to him, who lacks the necessary preparation for this role,” Busuttil said in a statement.

Busuttil met Mizzi Liang together with a representative from the Maltese embassy in Beijing, and a representative from the economic ministry.

“It is important that foreign investment is attracted in new niches to be developed in our country. We must also help Maltese business access Chinese markets,” Busuttil said.

The PN’s statement quoted Busuttil as having expressed disappointment that Mizzi Liang had “considered none of these new sectors”.

On his part, MP Tonio Fenech claimed that the lack of results is a clear proof of Labour’s bad governance, despite paying Mizzi Liang a €13,000 monthly salary.

The PN delegation, which ends today, also included deputy party leader for party affairs Beppe Fenech Adami, international secretary Trevor Degiorgio, and Busuttil’s head of office Matthew Gatt.

Statement by the Economy Ministry

In a statement issued by the Ministry for the Economy, it was reported that Busuttil was given a rundown of the work being carried out by Mizzi Liang.

The meeting took place at the consulate building which will house consular services. The PN delegation was given an account of the infrastructural work currently underway.

“Sai Mizzi Liang gave a detailed briefing on the work being done to attract Asian investment to Malta. She explained her work was to focus on companies with a potential to invest in Malta,” the ministry said.

Mizzi Liang cited Huawei as an example of how Malta could attract big companies.

The ministry said that more news of incoming investment to Malta from Shanghai will be announced in the coming months.

Labour reaction

In a reaction, the Labour Party said that Busuttil had already declared himself against Chinese investment in the Delimara power station. "Now he is against the Huawei memorandum. The Opposition leader cannot be taken seriously when talking about investment promotion in China. Labour is showing what it can be through concrete results."

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