The Malta Independent 25 October 2020, Sunday

‘Tax bailout’ – Government rails against request for more resources for Opposition Leader

Wednesday, 22 January 2020, 19:55 Last update: about 10 months ago

The government has criticised the request for added Parliamentary resources made by the PN during Monday's parliamentary session, on the basis that the Opposition did not propose a concrete plan on how the request should be carried out.

The PN's request has been labelled by certain government members as a "tax bailout."

Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne had also claimed that the resources would be used to fund salaries at the PN headquarters.

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The subject was brought up again on Wednesday by Alex Muscat, the Parliamentary Secretary for Citizenship and Communications within the Home Affairs Ministry.

Muscat said the PN should deal with its own debts. "This parliament has always handled Opposition Leaders in the same way and they (the PN) are coming here today asking us to treat him differently. A proposal that is not backed by a concrete plan is unacceptable and this government will never approve it," he said.

He agreed to discuss a reform on how to provide more resources and financing where needed but emphasised that one cannot ask the government to help the Opposition Leader while leaving out other MPs.

Government Whip Glenn Bedingfield echoed Muscat's statements by saying: "we never said that the Opposition Leader cannot have more resources and financial help. We said 'let's have a discussion on a reform that will have everyone benefit from it, not just the leader."

He said he believes in the idea of getting politicians closer to the people, so the priority is to improve how Parliament delivers its message to the public.

PN MP Edwin Vassallo countered by saying that the PN is not asking for a bailout but for there to be a just payment for the sacrifices that MPs make.

He said that it is not the PN that needs a bailout, but rather the Maltese population, to make up for the wrongs of this government.

"We have lost our moral compass in this Parliament and we have to see how to persevere and find a solution for the lack of trust our Parliament faces nowadays. This Parliament needs to have political correction. What we have gone through in the past months is a wake-up call on the need for us to strengthen our democracy."


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