The Malta Independent 22 February 2020, Saturday

Prime Minister submits Malta to the 10-year test

Noel Grima Sunday, 20 January 2019, 12:09 Last update: about 2 years ago

The race to the 25th May European Parliament election is now on and the parties have started using every Sunday morning, even a rainy one like yesterday, to rally the troops.

Labour went to Zurrieq today.

In his speech, characteristically an optimistic one. Labour leader and prime minister Joseph Muscat took a leaf out of the current craze on Facebook for people to take the 10-year test. 

While this is mainly meant for people to share photos how they were 10 years ago and how they are now, Dr Muscat used the game to compare Malta 10 years ago, that is, under the Nationalists, to today.

Ten years ago, the main worry for people were the electricity prices. People used to live in the darkness, used kerosene heaters, and stop making purchases when the bills were coming. This has now been completely changed.

Ten years ago, the economy was in stagnation. There were no jobs going and for every job there used to be many applicants. Today, you have to beg anybody to work for you because Malta has the least amount of unemployed people in its history.  Today, people do not take just any job, but a job that improves their position.

Ten years ago people paid high prices for school uniforms: today, these are controlled and there is a free market.

Ten years ago only the rich could send their children to childcare: today childcare is free.

Ten years ago, pensions were stagnant and people used to put on many garments to sleep when it's cold. Today, people can afford proper heating.

Ten years ago, the level of poor people in the country was at a high level. Today, the percentage of poor people has decreased, even though not all poverty has been eradicated.

Ten years ago, it was difficult to attract investments to Malta. Today, potential investors flock to Malta.

Dr Muscat spoke about his trip to India last week. There were so many companies interested in coming to Malta that minister Chris Cardona had to remain there to deal with this interest. The state the Maltese delegation visited is one of the smallest Indian states with just 5% of the 1.2 billion population but it is responsible for 20% of India's exports. The people he met there are very interested in using Malta as an access to the European market.

Last week too, Aurobindo announced a €3 million investment in its Malta facility to provide research on a cure for cancer.

This year, Malta might see three million tourists coming to Malta.

Ten years ago, Malta had all that chaos in public transport with Mr Buzullotti (Austin Gatt) and his sidekick (Manwel Delia) trying to change the very system of Malta's public transport which was always based on Valletta and turning it around so that one needed to bus rides just to get to Valletta. It is this government's aim to make public transport free for all Maltese residents and today, some 24,000 young people already travel for free.

Ten years ago, people had not heard of a surplus and only heard about deficits.

All this was achieved without any increase in taxes.

Ten years ago, there was the Posterity Fund which ended up depleted. This government has established a different fund that is managed by independent persons and not by the government.

Ten years ago, Malta did not have divorce and the other civil liberties that have now come in, pushed by civil society. Today, there is far more equality in the country and the state has been firmly locked out of people's bedrooms and one can marry whoever one wants.

Ten years ago, there were a number of out of stock pills and pensioners had to spend their pensions on medicines that were otherwise unavailable. 

Ten years ago there was no new hospital being built in Gozo.

Ten years ago, the army, the police and Civil Protection did not have the modern equipment they now have.

Ten years ago, cases in court took forever. Things have now improved substantially, although there are still delays but more cases are being judged than are being initiated.

Something that has remained the same over these ten years, Dr Muscat said, is the low level of participation by women in public life. This must change.

And lastly, Dr Muscat concluded, the PN has not changed from ten years back. They are still disordered with everyone doing what he likes.

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