Opposition Leader Simon Busuttil calls for a national coalition against corruption
Opposition Leader Simon Busuttil urged people to join the PN in forming a coalition against corruption, “a coalition between people of good will who do not turn a blind eye to corruption.”
Dr Busuttil was addressing a political activity at the Floriana Granaries, ahead of Independence Day, called ‘Politicians you can trust’, in an activity prior to the mass meeting that will take place on Tuesday.
“Corruption is bad, and the government is making a mistake by closing its eyes to this, sweeping it under the carpet. I am not the only one saying this, everyone is. Recently, Transparency International published a message which read: ‘Malta needs to clean up its corruption mess before it heads the Council of the European Union next year.’ The whole world is looking at this government’s corruption.”
“The solution to a corrupt government, is an alternative government that puts the fight against corruption at the forefront, and which by overcoming corruption can put the needs of the people first,” Dr Busuttil said.
“Salvu Mallia’s presence here yesterday sent a strong and clear message,” he said, “that he (Mr Mallia) is ready to join the PN as he sees the PN as the only alternative to overcome this problem. I welcome Mr Mallia’s message and I call anyone who has the will, like him, to join the PN and overcome this challenge.”
Dr Busuttil pledged to run a government where ministers follow the highest possible standards, where no minister would have a secret company in Panama, “that no minister will have a conflict of interest, and I won’t accept that any minister brings their wife, husband, children or parents into government work.”
He said that the PN will introduce a system where the highest positions in the country, from the President downwards, will be chosen through a two-thirds majority in Parliament
He also pledged to clean up the Police Force and the Armed Forces from partisan politics, “so that these crucial corps, so crucial to Malta’s security, will be there to serve the people and not protect those who are corrupt.”
He also promised that the PN would strengthen the offices of the Auditor General and the Ombudsman, and added that a PN government would tie itself to abide by their decisions. He also spoke about increasing the powers of the Ombudsman, giving him the power to investigate corruption.
Turning to the PBS, he said that the PN would again give it autonomy and not insult the people’s intelligence. It should be independent, and not controlled by government, he said.
He stressed that making proposals is not enough, and one must earn the trust of the people. “I know that one must work in order to earn trust, and I am ready to work for it. I do not expect anything, I only await that you give me the chance to persuade you and win your vote. If I persuade you that I am honest, that I am a person of integrity, then vote for the PN. You already trusted me when we were voting whether to enter or remain out of the EU, and I ask you to join me again to fight against corruption and clean up the political system once and for all.”
He mentioned the vote against Leo Brincat’s nomination, saying that this was because he associated himself with the Panama Papers scandal by closing his eyes to the corruption. “Everyone in the EU Parliament voted against him, resulting in giving a bad name to Malta. I insist, that the Prime Minister respect the EU Parliament vote, the most democratically elected institution in the EU. They spoke with an absolute majority, saying ‘no’. Accept their decision, as if you do not, then you will not only be leading a corrupt government, but an anti-democratic one. Whoever does not respect the EU Parliament’s decision is anti-democratic.”
“Our solution is simple,” he said. “Our priority is to lead an alternative government that cleans up corruption.”
The meeting was also addressed by PN Secretary General Rosette Thake, as well as new PN candidates Mary Bezzina, Doris Borg, Jean-Pierre Debono, Joe Elllis, Ian Vassallo and Stanley Zammit.
Following their intervention Dr Busuttil again took the stand and said that whenever the election comes, the PN would be ready for it and would win. “This is why we are strengthening the party. I urge you to reflect on the more human and personal aspect, of these people deciding to contest the election. The answer is not easy. They have a million reasons to say no, such as worry and stress, with everyone asking for something, and people insulting them. Even more so, we must admire people contesting under the PN ticket as we are in the Opposition. You must be a person who has a sense of duty, who wants to stand up and be counted. You must be a person of principle.”
Photo: Jonathan Borg