The Malta Independent 11 July 2020, Saturday

MEA adds voice to call for leaner parliament, maximum of 8 ministers

Thursday, 13 February 2020, 14:05 Last update: about 6 months ago

The Malta Employers’ Association has called for a smaller Parliament in a position paper with proposals for parliamentary reform which was presented to Minister Carmelo Abela, Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister.

During this meeting at the MEA premises, a number of topics were discussed, among them the state of social dialogue in Malta, issues affecting the labour market and industrial relations, mandatory union membership and the principle of equal pay for work of equal value.

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The paper presented by MEA voices its concern about a growing sense of: ‘disillusionment in our institutions. Politicians are seen as crooked or incompetent; the business community is perceived as corrupt; our justice system feared as being selective and manipulated. This distrust in our institutions is also eating away at our core values, with many believing that you cannot make headway in life through honest means’. The Association sees the restructuring of parliament as ‘a critical means through which other equally important reforms might be implemented to restore a sense of normality and to safeguard against a reoccurrence of the current state of affairs.’   

In essence, the paper proposes a leaner parliament with 45 fulltime members and a maximum of eight Ministers. MPs will be paid at €55k per annum, Parliamentary secretaries at €65k per annum and Ministers at 85k annum. The Prime Minister’s remuneration will be €110k per annum. MPs will not be able to occupy any position with government entities, nor have interest in private sector companies which can create a conflict of interest with their duties as MPs.

In addition, the paper also addresses the engagement of persons on positions of trust and party financing. The Association is recommending that the number of such persons should be limited to no more than 3 persons per ministry, and that there will be full disclosure of their contracts and duties. On party financing, MEA said that there should be a transition to partially state funded political parties, and that corporate donations and door to door collections will be strictly prohibited.

The MEA stressed that these recommendations are meant to contribute to a more comprehensive exercise to restore faith in Malta’s institutions by the general public and internationally, warning that in the absence of reform, a relapse into a series of scandals and corrupt practices, would be catastrophic for Malta.

The Chamber of Commerce has also called for a smaller parliament in a document it has also submitted to the government.

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