Busuttil says PN is the 'only option' against government corruption

PN leader suggests that Air Malta shares ought to be sold to public or airline employees

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil (Photo: Ray Attard/MediaToday)
Opposition leader Simon Busuttil (Photo: Ray Attard/MediaToday)

Nationalist Party leader Simon Busuttil has said that the PN is the only option against the government’s corruption.

Speaking during an interview on Radio 101, Busuttil said that he wanted the PN to show the public that politics can be carried out differently.

“The country needs a response and a viable alternative to the government,” he said, stressing that the PN was the only alternative for the public.

Busuttil added that the corruption had ultimately led to rifts in the Labour Party, and subsequently to a new party being launched by former PL MP Marlene Farrugia. Farrugia had also addressed a number of PN protests against corruption until finally launching a new “Democratic Party,” which marks the first time a third political party is present in local parliament in 27 years.

Referring to the PN’s proposals on good governance unveiled last December, Busuttil said that the measures were being revised following the feedback received and added that a final set of guidelines and concrete timeframes, would be issued by the end of the year, should the PN be elected.

He added that the sum that the PN had collected during its marathon last Thursday (€178,000) was a further message against the government’s corruption.

Busuttil said it was “scandalous” that the same financial consultant who opened Panama companies for Minister Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri, had opened companies in the British Virgin Islands for the Chinese person involved in the sale of the BWSC plant.

“The results of the fund raising show that the people are standing up to be counted, and reacting to the corruption and the arrogance shown by Mizzi and Schembri, regardless of Joseph Muscat’s reaction, or the lack of it,” he said.

Busuttil added that the absence of a police investigation into the allegations made in the Panama papers leak, was “shameful”, and appealed to Muscat to base the choice of a new commissioner for the force by a two-thirds majority vote in parliament.

“Failure to do so will indicate that Muscat is seeking someone to continue ignoring the investigations,” he said.

He went on to refer to MaltaToday’s survey, which revealed that corruption and the Panama papers were the main concerns in the country.

Busuttil also made comments about the allegations that the government was pressuring doctors to give preferential treatment to certain individuals based on their political allegiances.

“It is unacceptable that health issues are also being tainted by political issues,” he said, stressing that the allegations were being made by the MAM, rather than just the opposition. He further insisted that an inquiry should have been launched into the matter as soon as the allegations were made.

‘Air Malta shares should be sold to Maltese public or employees’

Busuttil also expressed concern that the national airline was having a number of shares sold to Alitalia, after its chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, said that the investment would be “a zero-risk operation – sub-zero, indeed – for Alitalia. It is an investment that would not cost a euro.”

Busuttil questioned why the national airline was being sold to someone who was unwilling to invest in it, and suggested that shares should be sold to employees of the airline or to Maltese citizens.

“This would be a way to ensure that employees are seen as assets to be invested in, rather than issues to tackle,” he said.

PN to update its policies on the environment following consultation session this Wednesday

Sparing a moment to commemorate world environment day, Busuttil explained that the PN was planning a consultation session this Wednesday to update the PN’s policies on the environment and to make them as clear and concrete as possible.

“The PN believes that a healthy environment leads to a healthier lifestyle,” he said referring to its policy document launched last year. 

Busuttil also lambasted Transport Minister Joe Mizzi’s failure to address traffic issues during his tenure as a minister so far.

Referring to the PN’s 35 proposals to tackle traffic in the short-term, Busuttil said that the recommendations are simple and they can be enacted to yield immediate results.

“The transport minister is completely incompetent and the public’s concerns continue to emphasize this,” he said, referring to MaltaToday’s survey once again. 

Government says it is open to "turnarounds" for national airline

Addressing criticism, the government responded to the comments made about Air Malta, saying that it was determined and open to turnarounds in negotiations to save the airline. The government added that it would continue to consult with the Opposition, employees, entities and stakeholders.