Most of those plac­ing full trust in Muscat think the en­vi­ron­ment is not safe­guarded

Malta Independent - - FRONT PAGE - He­lena Grech

Out of those re­spon­dents who place full trust in Prime Min­is­ter Joseph Muscat, 45.4% be­lieve that the en­vi­ron­ment is not presently be­ing safe­guarded, but a stag­ger­ing 88.5% be­lieve that the govern­ment is not cor­rupt.

Th­ese re­sults come from the Novem­ber edi­tion – the sixth of its kind – of the iSur­vey com­mis­sioned by The Malta In­de­pen­dent to Busi­ness Lead­ers.

This news­room car­ried out an ex­er­cise whereby it cross­ref­er­enced all those who gave Dr Muscat a full 10 points when asked to rate how much they trust the Prime Min­is­ter from one (be­ing the low­est trust score) to 10.

The pro­por­tion of re­spon­dents who awarded Dr Muscat a 10 were then cross-ref­er­enced with their views on cor­rup­tion, the en­vi­ron­ment and whether the PM should have sacked no­port­fo­lio Min­is­ter Kon­rad Mizzi and OPM chief of staff Keith Schem­bri.

Re­spon­dents were asked, sep­a­rately: Do you be­lieve the govern­ment to be cor­rupt? Do you think the en­vi­ron­ment is be­ing safe­guarded? Do you think that the Prime Min­is­ter should have sacked Kon­rad Mizzi and Keith Schem­bri over the Panama Pa­pers rev­e­la­tions?

With re­gard to the en­vi­ron­ment, 44.6% be­lieve that it is be­ing safe­guarded, 45.4% be­lieve that it is not, and 10% do not know.

On the is­sue of whether Dr Mizzi and Mr Schem­bri should have been sacked by the PM, just 10.8% agree, 59.2% do not, and a sig­nif­i­cant 28.5% said they do not know.

When it comes to cor­rup­tion, 88.5% be­lieve that the govern­ment is not cor­rupt, 6.2% be­lieve that it is and 5.4% could not say ei­ther way.

Th­ese re­sults point to­wards how cer­tain is­sues are politi­cised in the minds of the elec­torate far more than oth­ers.

When it comes to the en­vi­ron­ment, the fall-out from poor planning di­rectly im­pacts peo­ple’s lives. There is a par­tic­u­lar case in court about a per­son whose warehouse, which held as­sets used for his busi­ness,

got flooded be­cause the ram­pant overde­vel­op­ment sur­round­ing the warehouse meant that high vol­umes of wa­ter af­ter a tem­pes­tu­ous storm were di­verted to­wards his prop­erty. In short, there are tan­gi­ble con­se­quences, which are ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to re­verse, from en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues.

On an ag­gre­gate level, ill-con­ceived en­vi­ron­men­tal de­ci­sions have also im­pacted peo­ple’s right to en­joy pub­lic land, such as the il­le­gal Ar­mier boathouses, the il­le­gal Ġne­jna boathouses and the pre­vi­ously il­le­gal struc­tures at St Thomas Bay that have now been re­moved.

The Prime Min­is­ter, who en­joys the high­est trust rat­ing amongst the lead­ers of all po­lit­i­cal par­ties, has not yet ut­tered a word of con­dem­na­tion as re­gards th­ese il­le­gal­i­ties.

Over-de­vel­op­ment in cer­tain lo­cal­i­ties, and a lack of fore­sight, has also contributed to ma­jor traf­fic grid­lock, such as in Sliema and Paceville. Malta is one of the most densely pop­u­lated coun­tries in the world, with the num­ber of ex­pats and tourists vis­it­ing the is­land on the rise. This ne­ces­si­tates very care­ful planning, there­fore news of Out­side De­vel­op­ment Zone land be­ing de­vel­oped, and ma­jor projects that would bring more peo­ple and more traf­fic will un­der­stand­ably irk the pub­lic.

When it comes to cor­rup­tion, for ex­am­ple, a large pro­por­tion of vot­ers who are con­sis­tently loyal to one par­tic­u­lar party will of­ten feel that the op­pos­ing side is ac­tu­ally cor­rupt. From the sur­vey re­sults, it can be said that older age-co­horts tend to stick to their party, whereas their younger coun­ter­parts are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly jaded and frus­trated with main­stream pol­i­tics.

When asked who they would vote for should an elec­tion hap­pen to­day, out those who were not el­i­gi­ble to vote in the last elec­tion be­cause they were not yet 18, 45.5% said they would not vote or they are still un­de­cided. A pro­por­tion of 27.3% said that they would not vote, while 18.2% said they were un­de­cided. When look­ing at age co­horts from 45 up­wards, it would ap­pear, from the way such re­spon­dents said they voted in the last elec­tion, that they tend to be more loyal and con­sis­tent when vot­ing.

On the is­sue of whether the Prime Min­is­ter should have sacked no-port­fo­lio Min­is­ter Kon­rad Mizzi and OPM chief of staff Keith Schem­bri for the role they played in the Panama Pa­pers scandal, we still found the ma­jor­ity of re­spon­dents who place full trust in Dr Muscat and dis­agree with the ques­tion.

Just 10.8% said they be­lieve the Prime Min­is­ter should have sacked his two clos­est men. De­spite Dr Mizzi be­ing the only ac­tive min­is­ter to be found to have a se­cret com­pany in Panama, shel­tered by a trust in New Zealand, this still does not war­rant his re­moval for Dr Muscat’s most loyal fol­low­ers. While no il­le­gal­i­ties have been proven, the is­sue of ethics comes into play. Hav­ing said this, the sur­vey still found that Dr Mizzi was the fourth most pop­u­lar min­is­ter when re­spon­dents were asked to list their top per­form­ing min­is­ter of par­lia­men­tary sec­re­tary.

The is­sue of Dr Mizzi and Mr Schem­bri lends it­self to the per­cep­tion of cor­rup­tion, and how party loy­als view cor­rup­tion. In the next iSur­vey ar­ti­cle, this news­room will be tak­ing a look at those who gave Op­po­si­tion Leader Si­mon Busut­til a full trust rat­ing, and how those re­spon­dents gauge the per­ti­nent is­sues cov­ered by the sur­vey.

Just 10.8% said they be­lieve the Prime Min­is­ter should have sacked his two clos­est men

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