The Malta Independent 13 November 2019, Wednesday

Indepth: Different opinions in PN but consensus on faulty running of IIP scheme

INDEPTH online Friday, 25 October 2019, 09:01 Last update: about 13 days ago

There are different opinions on the passport for sale scheme in the Nationalist Party, but there is consensus in disagreeing on the way in which the IIP is being run, PN spokesperson Justin Schembri said.

Schembri and Government MP Alex Muscat were interviewed on Indepth by The Malta Independent Deputy Editor-in-chief Neil Camilleri.

When asked about whether the country was dependent on the IIP scheme, Muscat first asked Schembri what the position of PN was, considering that the party has been vague on the issue, then went on to note that, even without the IIP, the country would still make a surplus.

While previous administrations left debts for future generations to pay, the government wanted to leave wealth for these generations, Muscat said.

Replying, Schembri said the PL was accusing the PN of wanting to be selective with regard to foreign nationals when it was doing the same thing.

“You have people who can buy our passport because they are millionaires, but then you have others who, unfortunately, are being brought here to work as cheap labour.”

“When it comes to the scheme, I think that the PN is against the sale of citizenship. My citizenship, our identity as Maltese people, is ours, and no millionaire can come and purchase it.”

 

Asked specifically whether the PN would scrap the scheme, Schembri said the matter was still being discussed and would form part of the electoral manifesto. 

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The problem in Malta is that we are creating many jobs that not all Maltese individuals have the necessary skills to apply for, Labour Party MP Alex Muscat said.

He was speaking on INDEPTH, The Malta Independent's online current affairs programme, which has resumed after the summer break. Deputy Editor-in-Chief Neil Camilleri hosted Muscat and PN spokesperson Justin Schembri for a debate on the Budget 2020.

Opening the discussion on foreign workers, Schembri said that nobody is speaking against the foreigners in the country, but that there should be a plan and a selection process that produces individuals who help Malta grow its economy, and not just provide a service.

"This Government is only bringing in people that lower the level of wages in Malta, and, apart from that, we are having an astronomical increase in the population. The government is yet to give an answer on what will happen in the years to come."

Schembri maintained that a choice must be made between having a flourishing economy that is over-shadowed with the most overpopulated, dirty, traffic-ridden country with a surplus that doesn't reach the people, or a country where our children may have a good life and appreciate the country they grow up in.

Muscat retorted by saying that this is the type of argument that worries him. He criticised Schembri for saying that we must be selective, adding that politicians must be careful with the kind of rhetoric they use. He pointed towards the increase in hate speech and queried whether the PN is trying to ride on the populist trend.

He said it was not true that foreign workers were taking the jobs that the Maltese do not want, insisting that only a small percentage take up such positions. "The problem in Malta is that we are creating many jobs that not all Maltese have the necessary skills to work in," Muscat said.


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