[WATCH] Labour Party will become the law and order movement, Muscat tells party faithful

People doing ‘whatever they want’ and a lack of reciprocal respect within communities will no longer be tolerated, said the Prime Minister

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has said that in the coming years he his vision for the Labour Party is of it becoming the ‘law and order movement’, which could bring the message across to society that one cannot simply do whatever they wanted to.

Addressing a political activity at the Labour Party club in Santa Lucija, Muscat stressed that the behaviour of certain people in certain place around the island was no longer acceptable.

Referring to the announcement by the Home Affairs minister this week, that law enforcement efforts in Marsa would be significantly boosted, Muscat said the government wanted to send a clear message that it would no longer be tolerating abuses.

He said that while Marsa was the first locality selected for what was being considered a pilot project, similar efforts could be extended to localities like Hamrun, Birzebbuga, Qawra and Bugibba.

“We can’t have a situation where people from Marsa speak to me and tell me they feel they can’t leave their house because they are afraid, especially at the weekend,” he said. 

The Prime Minister stressed that it needed to be made clear to everyone that public parks and gardens are not for sleeping and drinking, and that abuses in certain sectors of employment were no longer acceptable.

“This type of behaviour is no longer going to be tolerated,” he said, adding that everyone needed to respect their surroundings while they were having fun. “This is a message we are sending to all people in all localities.”

“My vision is for this party, this movement to because the law and order movement in the future,” he continued. “A movement for good behaviour.”

This, Muscat insisted, was why the government had introduced a new driving points system. “Certain people’s attitude is no longer acceptable and we have to stop this idea that people can do whatever they want.”

“There are rules and everyone must abide by those rules,” said Muscat.

Daphne Caruana Galizia murder investigation

On the investigation into the murder of Daphne Caruna Galizia, Muscat said he wanted to thank law enforcement officials who had “unjust political pressure” put on them by people intent on stereotyping individuals.

The Prime Minister said there were many comments, and some corrections, he wished to make about the way in which the week’s events were reported but he once again emphasised that he could not say too much.

“At such a delicate time, on the eve of the compilation of evidence, I choose to take a step back. Instead, in my name, and in the name of those of good will, I want to thank our law enforcement officials.”

Despite the criticism, he said that the armed forces, the police force, and the secret service had responded with results that the country could be proud of.

“I will say this, a few weeks ago we had situation where people were saying a case like this was impossible to solve,” said Muscat, adding that there were other past cases, like the killing of Raymond Caruana and Karin Grech, which had not been solved. “I am proud that with international help but with the strength of Maltese institutions, our law enforcement forces have gotten results in what is a very big case.”

Investment so far is only the start

Turning to the week’s announcement, that had shown significant growth in the third quarter of 2016, with Malta registering a GDP increase of 7.4%, Muscat pointed out that his was the only Labour administration that had overseen a drop in unemployment while it was in office.

He said the results were of particular importance, given that “just six months ago” then Opposition leader Simon Busuttil had claimed that if the Labour Party were returned to power, major foreign investors would leave the island.

Not only had this not materialised, but rather the economy had continued to grow at an even faster rate, Muscat said.

Muscat said that the economic progress registered so far by the country was only a fraction of the investment expected in the future.

“Malta has not reached the peak, in fact it will continue going up,” he said.

He said this was driven by results obtained in tourism, the financial services, manufacturing, as well as people’s increased spending.

Muscat said that it was part of Maltese culture to invest and maximise wealth. "When [the government] lowered the cost of bills and taxes, the poeple spent money in other ways, such as investment and improving their lives overall."

The same applying to tax cuts for workers, he said, insisting that the government would solve issues such as the rising cost of rent.

Movement of social justice

The Prime Minister insisted that the Labour Party was now the movement of work and economic growth, but also that of social justice.

He said that his administration had made the effective redistribution of wealth a top priority, as evidenced by it increasing pensions across the board.
Muscat pledged that the government would continue working to increase pensions in the coming years, and to offer help to those segments of society that needed it.

He said work was underway to ensure that people with a disability entered the workforce more than ever before, adding that spending on education had never been higher. The government, he said was also investing more in healthcare, to ensure that Maltese citizens no longer needed to seek treatment abroad.

Muscat said the government was being criticised by "so-called" independent medida but despite this, it was also working to give more liberties to those who wished to criticise it.

The Prime Minister said he was happy to announce that the Malta would be only the second country in Europe to decrease the voting age to 16.

"This is a historical circumstance because we are giving more rights to people," said Muscat.