‘Incompetent’ Joe Mizzi has to shoulder responsibility for traffic nightmare - Busuttil

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil says Joseph Muscat’s pre-electoral pledges were only “bluff and deceit”; says Labour's "corruption scandals" have tarnished Malta's reputation

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil has today called on the government to propose concrete measures to alleviate traffic congestion, arguing that under Joe Mizzi’s “incompetence”, traffic is worse than ever.

Speaking during an interview on Radio 101, the Opposition leader insisted that transport minister Joe Mizzi is “incompetent and not up to it,” and while echoing the latest results of MaltaToday’s Rate the Minister survey, said that Mizzi’s idleness in addressing the traffic problem was also being felt by the general public.

Busuttil’s remarks were in fact vindicated by MaltaToday’s latest Rate the Minister survey, which confirmed that amid increased concern on traffic congestion and the state of public transport, the latest MaltaToday’s survey showed that Mizzi is the least popular minister in the Cabinet, with confidence rates among respondents falling down to 22.3%.

Speaking on the eve of the Budget, Simon Busuttil insisted that since the traffic problem falls under Mizzi’s ministry portfolio, the transport ministry is the one who should shoulder the political responsibility.

“Rest assured, the traffic problem is not new, nor did it begin under Labour’ s watch. However, the Labour Party was elected on the basis of having a roadmap, only for the traffic problem in Malta to become even worse,” Busuttil said.

“After two and half years, there have been no concrete solutions to alleviate the traffic congestion. The Opposition wants a serious traffic management plan, and clear solutions,” he said.

“The main reason as to why the problem has continued to worsen is that the minister is incompetent. He is not up to it, in two-and-half-years, the government has not implemented any measures, and Joe Mizzi, as the minister responsible, has to shoulder his share of responsibility,” the PN leader said.

The leader of the Nationalist Party also quipped that Joe Mizzi’s role in the government is irrelevant as parliament went ahead with its debate on transport without the transport minister being present.

The PN leader also noted how the Opposition’s proposal for the government so subsidise the transport of all students attending private and independent schools had been ridiculed, only for the government to now consider it.

Similarly, he said, Busuttil said the government should heed to the Opposition’s call to reduce fuel prices. “Malta has higher fuel prices than the European average. Motorists are being faced with a double-edged sword: they are paying more for fuel, and spending more time stuck in traffic,” he said.

Busuttil also said that he expects tomorrow’s budget to address the “unequal and unjust” distribution of wealth.

“The economy continued to grow, but those close to Labour’s inner circles have continued to gobble from the state’s coffers. On the other hand, the country’s wealth was not being distributed fairly, but rather, in an unjust manner,” he said.

Asked whether he believed that the government would address corruption, Busuttil vociferously insisted that rather than doing so, the prime minister would not suddenly start believing in meritocracy and political responsibility.

“His mask has fallen off… In two-and-a-half years, the prime minister showed us that all he had promised before the election was nothing but lies, deceit, and bluff … the people who are close to the Labour Party are living a comfortable life, while those who are at the risk of poverty and the pensioners are struggling to make ends meet,” he said.

The PN leader also insisted that a series of scandals during Labour’s tenure have blighted Malta’s reputation, and that consequently, businesses may be deterred from investing in Malta due to corruption.

He also remarked that the government should publish an individual list of the beneficiaries of the controversial Individual Investor Programme, and said that he had requested the details during an IIP monitoring committee meeting, only for his request to be turned down.