The Malta Independent 26 May 2019, Sunday

Updated: Marlene Farrugia lashes out at ‘one-party system with two heads’

Saturday, 10 March 2018, 08:16 Last update: about 2 years ago

Partit Demokratiku MP Marlene Farrugia this morning upped the tempo in the party’s criticism of how the Labour Party and Nationalist Party are “working together” in their own best interests while forgetting the needs of the people.

A day after her partner and colleague Godfrey Farrugia said that the PD had not been informed about the parliamentary debate on MPs’ pensions, Marlene Farrugia this morning lambasted the “one-party system with two heads” that has taken over.

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In a video-post on Facebook, Farrugia said that the PD can never agree that MPs start to get a full two-thirds pension for serving one term in the House, as against the previous two. Just as much as Labour had criticised the PN government for giving ministers an extra €500 a month, the PD feels that in principle it must be against the new law.

We cannot have a situation in which many people, including pensioners, are not being able to make ends meet, and then at the same time MPs give themselves a better deal, Farrugia said.

The two major parties are working hand in hand in their own interests, and not in the interests of the people. The PD wanted to have its space in Parliament to speak against the law, and yet it discovered that it was rushed quickly through the House at a time when the PD's two MPs were not present, Farrugia said.

Marlene Farrugia's video post can be seen here

In a statement issued later, Partit Demokratiku expressed its opposition to the act on pension reform tabled by Minister Chris Cardona including clauses that will allow a Member of Parliament to claim a full two thirds pension after serving for only one legislature rather than the current two. It is also allows an MP to get a pro-rata payment even if they have not served a full term. This is apparently after consultation with the so-called opposition.

Partit Demokratiku would like to make it clear that at no time were its two members of parliament approached on this issue.

PD would like to make the following points:

1.     PD believes there should be no parliamentary pension reform before all pensioners are in receipt of a decent living pension.

2.     PD asks if, as is believed, there will be parliamentary reform with the option for MPs to become full time with the obvious pay increase associated with it, will they still be eligible to a full two-thirds pension?

3.     We deem this measure untimely. Many pensioners are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet and make do with a miserable and inadequate cost of living increase each year. Whilst in theory their pension is two thirds of their wage, many never receive that, despite paying National Insurance Contributions proportional to their income for forty years. This is because the statuary pension is capped at a certain level.

4.     Apart from Parliamentary Secretaries and Ministers, most MPs are part-time and maintain their full-time jobs and professions, for which they will eventually receive a pension, just like the rest of us.

5.     Second tier pensions are allowed for MPs, but not for the average Maltese citizen. Both main parties, and a Labour government in particular, harp on about how socially minded they are, this situation is a very clear reflection of the reality of what is done for their own benefit, rather than for that of the general public.  

It is high time everyone in our society was treated by the same weights and measures. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. If it is not, then it should not be done.

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