Trade envoy to China ‘not up to it’, PN leader insists

After meeting Sai Mizzi Liang at the new consulate offices in Shanghai, an unimpressed Simon Busuttil described the meeting as ‘bizarre’

Sai Mizzi Liang welcomes Opposition leader Simon Busuttil
Sai Mizzi Liang welcomes Opposition leader Simon Busuttil

A meeting with Malta Enterprise’s trade envoy to China Sai Mizzi Liang appeared to leave no positive impression on Opposition leader Simon Busuttil, who declared that Mizzi Liang was “not up to it”.

“So far, the Opposition has been very critical of Sai Mizzi’s appointment for reasons of nepotism but, after this meeting, the criticism will also focus on the fact that she is not up to it,” Busuttil told The Times of Malta, describing the meeting as “bizarre”.

The PN leader commented that Mizzi Liang “got flustered and told me that she did not sit behind a desk all day.” According to a PN statement issued on Friday, the Nationalist delegation asked her to justify her monthly €13,000 salary with Busuttil voicing his disappointment “at the lack of results”.

A government spokesperson however insisted that no such comments were passed and described the meeting as cordial and informative. A statement issued by the Ministry for the Economy said the Nationalist delegation was briefed on the work being done to attract investment from Asia. It also said that new investment from Shanghai was to be announced in the coming months.

Busuttil said the face-to-face meeting took place in the office block where Malta’s consular representation will operate from. The consulate general’s office on the 11th floor – bought for €2 million and partly funded by the EU – is being refurbished.

“We met in a meeting room on the fourth floor but were told the consular office would be ready by the end of the month,” Dr Busuttil said.

Wife of Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi, Mizzi Liang came under fire for her appointment as a trade envoy, with the Nationalist Party arguing that this was “another case of nepotism” by the government.

Mizzi Liang was in Malta this week for the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei to start testing 5G in Malta. In comments to the press, she urged reporters “to judge me by my results and not by what you hear about me”.

Mizzi Liang then flew back to Shanghai to meet Busuttil at the recently acquired €2 million offices in Shanghai. Busuttil was heading a PN delegation to China on an invitation by the Communist Party.

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.

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