[WATCH] Busuttil rubbishes Muscat's hand of friendship: 'You are a pathological liar'

'I will not accept a hand of friendship from a corrupt government...Muscat must either be a pathological liar or living on a different planet' 

Simon Busuttil rejects Joseph Muscat's 'hand of friendship'.
Simon Busuttil rejects Joseph Muscat's 'hand of friendship'.
Opposition leader Simon Busuttil addresses the PN's executive and sectional committees. Photo : James Bianchi/MediaToday
Opposition leader Simon Busuttil addresses the PN's executive and sectional committees. Photo : James Bianchi/MediaToday

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil rubbished Joseph Muscat's recent call for bridges to be built between the two main parties, arguing that the Prime Minister “is either a pathological liar or living on a different planet”.

“This offer is coming from a Prime Minister who has never requested to meet me personally and who last week insulted me personally in Parliament because I dared ask him who Egrant belongs to. I will not accept a hand of friendship from a corrupt government, as the offer is a hypocritical one.”

Members of the PN's executive and sectional committees gathered in force at Dar Centrali. Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday
Members of the PN's executive and sectional committees gathered in force at Dar Centrali. Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday

Muscat on Sunday said that the Opposition was resorting to provocation because it lacked ideas, and urged Labour supporters not to fall for this tactic and instead offer a “hand of friendship”.

However, Busuttil told the PN’s executive and sectional committees during a meeting at Dar Centrali that Muscat is only using such words “to look good in front of the cameras”.

“When you try and shake their hands, you realize that they are holding an axe that they use against all who criticise it,” he said, in a dig at economy minister Chris Cardona’s metaphorical warning that Labour will strike critics with an axe if “you hit us with a sword”.

Photo : James Bianchi/MediaToday
Photo : James Bianchi/MediaToday

Indeed, Busuttil called the meeting to urge the committees to organise themselves ahead of a protest that will be held in Valletta on Sunday, in condemnation of Cardona’s decision to request a garnishee order be slapped on blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia. Cardona and his policy officer Joe Gerada filed the garnishee orders on libel suits they plan to instigate against Caruana Galizia over allegations that they had visited a brothel while on government business in Germany.

The PN has since filed a private members' bill to abolish precautionary warrants on libel cases.  

Busuttil insisted that the protest will not be a partisan one, but rather a national one – open to all Maltese citizens who believe in the principles of democracy and freedom of expression.

“Cardona’s garnishee order was not just an attack against one journalist [Caruana Galizia] but against every single journalist and against freedom of expression in general,” he said. “If the government wants to challenge the principle of freedom of expression, it means that it is intent on breaching a fundamental human right and that someone must stand up to stop it in its tracks.”

‘New FIAU director must publish Panama investigation’

Simon Busuttil also urged Kenneth Farrugia, the new director of the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit, to immediately publish the results of an investigation into the offshore Panama companies of minister Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri.

However, the FIAU is precluded from divulging any report or making it public. The law which established the FIAU makes any officer who divulges such information to five years imprisonment.

Photo : James Bianchi/MediaToday
Photo : James Bianchi/MediaToday

“The FIAU’s previous director [Manfrd Galdes] resigned last year in the wake of investigations into Mizzi and Schembri, and the police commissioner [Michael Cassar] resigned soon afterwards,” he recounted. “The FIAU director’s salary is being paid for from our taxes, and it his responsibility to inform the public what became of the investigation. If, for argument’s sake, the investigation ruled that the police should have prosecuted Mizzi and Schembri on charges of money laundering, then the public has a right to know.”

He also urged Mizzi and Schembri, “for the sake of transparency’ to speak to a delegation of the European Parliament’s Panama Papers committee, who will arrive in Malta next week.

“We don’t yet know whether Mizzi and Schembri have responded to the Pana committee’s request for a meeting, but if they haven’t then I challenge Muscat to force them to do so.”

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