The Malta Independent 25 October 2014, Saturday

'Security Services can be trusted', Opposition leader says

Malta Independent Tuesday, 2 July 2013, 19:25 Last update: about 6 months ago

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil said that he was given assurances by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat on the Security Services operations, emphasising that the Security Service was and is still is one to have faith in.

In a joint press conference held today on the steps of Castille following a Security Committee meeting lasting two hours, both Dr Muscat and Dr Busuttil, who were accompanied by Home Affairs Minister Emmanuel Mallia, shared the same reaction, both assuring the public that the Security Services can be trusted and should enjoy everyone’s respect.

Dr Busuttil said that he raised a number of concerns which were all addressed.

The two declined to comment on the issues brought up during the meeting and to questions posed by journalists on the resignation of the former head of the Security Services, "since issues related to the MSS are highly sensitive and I would like to stick to my policy of not commenting on such issues”, Dr Muscat said.

The security committee meeting was called by Dr Muscat following a request made by Dr Busuttil.

Dr Busuttil's call came in the wake of an admission by Dr Mallia in parliament that he oversaw the selection of employees within the Security Services branch.

On Monday, in a letter to the Prime Minister, Dr Busuttil wrote: “In the light of Dr Mallia’s admission in parliament that he oversaw the employee selection process of the Security Services, along with his chief of staff, I feel that such actions are unacceptable in a democratic society.

MSS chief Michael Cassar and Foreign Affairs Minister George Vella were also present during the meeting.

Asked about the Snowden case, both Dr Busuttil and Dr Muscat said that they were concerned and shared the EU's concerns over the matter.

Walking towards his car, Dr Muscat jokingly asked Dr Busuttil if he wanted a ride in his Alfa, which saw Dr Busuttil reply in the negative: "Better not, I might have to hand you a portion of my allowance if I did so," the Opposition leader joked back.

The two had engaged in a war of words after Dr Muscat decided to use his personal car as his official vehicle which led Dr Busuttil to state that “it’s unbecoming for a prime minister to use his personal car”. 

Dr Muscat had fended off criticism following his decision to renounce to an official car, and get €7,000 a year in return for using his private vehicle. He said that it was the cheapest option and the end result was that taxpayers’ money was saved as a result.

 

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