The Malta Independent 24 May 2016, Tuesday

Custom-made kitchen used in Joseph Muscat’s new year’s video not in showrooms until June

Mathias Mallia Wednesday, 6 January 2016, 08:52 Last update: about 6 months ago

The kitchen in which Prime Minister Joseph Muscat was welcomed by “first-time buyers” at the start of his New Year’s annual address was custom-made for the couple and will only hit the showrooms in the middle of next year, The Malta Independent has learnt.

The Malta Independent newsroom contacted the supplier of the elaborate kitchen, Construct Furniture, as potential buyers and asked for information about the price and availability of the kitchen that appeared in the lavishly produced video footage.

When we asked why a kitchen similar to the one in the video could not be found on the company’s website, we were first told that there are new kitchens on display in the showrooms that are not pictured online. Later, after being passed on to a senior member of staff, we were told that the particular kitchen is not for sale or viewing just yet, and that it will be on display in the showroom around May or June.

The advice we were given was to call back around May to set up a viewing appointment. We were also told that, if we were seriously interested, the manufacturers might be able to provide a kitchen as the one appearing in the PM’s message by September. No price range was offered until possible further consultation.

The “working-class couple” shown in the video was said to be trying their best to make ends meet, and could afford their new house thanks to the first time buyers’ scheme. But it was immediately clear that this was no average couple, and facts have emerged since the video was aired last week that expose the government’s communication guru’s attempt at cheap propaganda on an occasion which seeks to embed trust in the people. Traditionally the end of year message by the leaders of the nation was intended to send a strong message of hope and prosperity, however, following this year’s ‘fake’ set-up presented to the electorate one wonders whether this long standing tradition has reached its final stages.

The young couple, or actors as it transpired, Fernando and Lorella Agius, are employed full-time as interior designers with Construct Furniture, the same company that produced the kitchen for them. The company itself is run by Fernando’s own family.  

In the meantime it was also reported today that the couple bought their Luqa property in 2008, not a year and a half ago, as they claim in the video. This also shows that the couple certainly did not benefit from the First Time Buyers scheme, despite telling the PM in the clip how the scheme gave them a boost.

People have taken to the social media to criticise this communications blunder and asking for a return in authenticity on behalf of politicians. Ironically, an online poll currently going on independent.com.mt has asked readers to declare how they expect politicians to conduct themselves during 2016. 65.4% of those who participated in the poll so far said that politicians should not treat the electorate like they’re stupid and gullible. The poll is still active online. 

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