Busuttil insists Malta must heed lessons learned after Trump victory

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil calls on voters to vote against country's ‘corrupt establishment’, says Trump's represented a vote against the establishment and concentrated powers

Just days after Donald Trump’s shocking victory in the US elections, Opposition leader Simon Busuttil today urged Maltese voters to follow in the footsteps of their American counterparts by voting against the country’s establishment.

Speaking on Radio 101 just an hour after Prime Minister Joseph Muscat refuted claims that his government was part of the establishment, the PN leader insisted that the prime minister was together with Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri, part of a “corrupt establishment” leading Malta.

“The establishment in Malta is the prime minister and the two people around him who were found to have set up secret companies in Panama,” Busuttil said in a dig at former energy minister Konrad Mizzi and OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri.

“It is not known yet whether Muscat himself had set up a secret company himself but he defended the actions of others … The US election represents a vote against the establishment and the concentrated powers that favour the few, the Maltese should take lessons from the US election and vote to remove the establishment,” he said.

Describing Trump’s victory as “surprising”, Busuttil said that the electoral result showed that survey results were wrong and that people should be wary of surveys. Busuttil’s remarks were made after the latest MaltaToday survey showed Prime Minister Joseph Muscat still leading Busuttil by 6.8 points and the Labour Party leading the PN by 3.5 points.

Accusing the “corrupt establishment” of being indifferent to people’s needs, the PN leader said members of the government were using the taxpayers’ money for their benefit and setting up secret companies, while the people were getting the short end of the stick.

“Under the establishment Maltese workers saw inflation rising faster than wages and their purchasing power declined. ITU patients were given expired medicines, pensioners have to choose between buying their medicines or food, while the results of nurses’ exams were withdrawn after they were published,” he said.

Busuttil once again raised questions on the timing of the contract between the government and Vitals Global Healthcare, the company given a 30-year-concession to run three hospitals in Malta and Gozo, and suggested that former energy and health minister Konrad Mizzi and OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri may have profited from the deal.

“Just two days after the contract with Vitals was signed, Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri gave the go-ahead to set up companies in Panama and to open up bank accounts,” he said.

The PN leader also underlined that if elected, he would order an independent inquiry to probe every contract negotiated by Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri, arguing that if any wrongdoing were to be discovered, the contracts would be stopped.

“The establishment came up with a Paceville masterplan which removed people’s houses and replaced them with roads and squares to benefit a small group of individuals… No wonder there were protests,” he said.

Busuttil also said that people were feeling afraid due to increase in car bombs and increase in crime.

“Bribes were sought for medical visas, political pressure was exerted for police to release a man [Daniel Bogdanovic] under arrest, while the establishment’s police covered up for those involved in the Panama scandal instead of defending the people,” he argued.

The Opposition said a Nationalist administration would instil greater confidence in the police force by introducing a system whereby the police commissioner and AFM commanders would be appointed after being approved by two thirds of the members of parliament.