The Malta Independent 25 May 2020, Monday

‘We will achieve a better result if we collaborate,’ PM tells Opposition Leader

Friday, 31 January 2020, 17:01 Last update: about 5 months ago

Prime Minister Robert Abela said on Friday that the country would achieve better results if the Opposition collaborated with the government.

He was reacting to the news that Opposition Leader Adrian Delia is refusing to be consulted by the government on the regulator for Malta’s citizenship scheme – the IIP. 

Delia said that he had told Robert Abela that the time has come for the scheme to be scrapped.

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Abela said that he wished the Opposition Leader would give his input on the matter. “To abdicate from such an important function of the role of Leader of the Opposition is a mistake,” he told journalists.

“I would like us to have a dialogue …I am offering the hand of friendship to discuss not only this issue but other issues as well, including constitutional changes and on how judicial appointments are made. I believe that if we collaborate, we will have a much better result.”

Asked if there would be changes to the passport scheme, Abela said decisions will be taken.

The PM said he has already committed himself to keeping the IIP scheme. “If changes are needed, such as on the due diligence process, these will be made but, in principle, this scheme has done a lot of good for the country and we should preserve it. Let us not let such a good programme be discarded. We will preserve it and make the changes that need to be made and tighten the rules if need be.”

Abela said the IIP already has a high level of due diligence, as proven by the fact that a good number of applications are refused.

Asked about government jobs for MPs, and a recent report by Standards Commissioner George Hyzler, the PM said he did not agree with the claim that the government was buying MPs’ silence by offering them public posts and contracts.

“When I was a backbencher I never let my government roles keep me from expressing myself. MPs will still have the liberty to speak out when they feel the need to,” he said.

Asked whether he was aware of other former ministers who were given consultancy contracts like the one given to Konrad Mizzi by the MTA (later terminated), Abela said he was not aware of any contracts given to Joseph Muscat or Chris Cardona. He said journalists can ask and the necessary verifications will be made.

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