The Malta Independent 16 May 2021, Sunday

‘Freedom means having peace of mind that institutions work independently and impartially‘ - PM

Bettina Borg Wednesday, 31 March 2021, 11:48 Last update: about 3 months ago

Freedom means having the peace of mind that the institutions work with complete independence and impartiality, Prime Minister Robert Abela said, stressing that the government has strived to achieve this.

Abela shared a public message on Facebook to mark the celebration of Freedom Day and reflect on freedom in Maltese society today.

He began his address by reflecting on the past and Malta's strive for freedom in the 1970s.

"In the beginning of the 1970s, our country built the foundation on which our modern economy rests today", he said. "Our welfare state was built".


He said that the Labour Party faced difficulties as it worked to grant Maltese citizens freedom.

"The Labour Party never had an easy life, but it always delivered", Abela said. "Dom Mintoff wrote about this struggle in January of 1959, 20 years before Freedom Day. Our ancestors faced the storm of those who refused to give up power from their hands. But our ancestors never gave up. Today, we are living their dream".

He said that it is the mission of the PL to continue granting each and every citizen in Malta and Gozo the freedom they deserve. This will particularly be achieved by looking at the poorest members of society and taking steps to ensure that their needs are met.

"We have reduced poverty since 2013 and we will continue doing so today", Abela said.

The government is doing all it can to safeguard the work, health and education of Maltese citizens during the pandemic, so much so that "hundreds of millions of euros have been invested to save 100,000 workers", Abela said.

He added that freedom implies putting trust in Malta's institutions.

"Above anything else, freedom is the peace of mind that the institutions work with complete independence and impartiality", he said. "This is not only something we believe, but we have strived to put this into practice".

He stressed the importance of pushing the pre-1995 rent reforms to safeguard the freedom of tenants.

"How can you have freedom if you can't have the peace of mind that you will have a roof over your head because you are worried that someone will throw you out of your home?", he asked. "Freedom is having property and getting what you deserve from it".

Additionally, Abela said that the Parliamentary gender corrective mechanism reform and the "freedom from discrimination" are at the top of the Party's agenda, alongside the pre-1995 rent reforms.

While Maltese women are more present in places of importance such as the European Union and make up "more than half" of workers in public service, Abela said there is still more to be done for women's representation in the political sphere.

By pushing forward the Parliamentary gender corrective mechanism reform Abela hopes that Malta moves toward "a parliament that is a better representation of our society".

The pre-1995 rent reform was brought to attention last February, when Abela announced that landlords of properties bound under pre-1995 rents will be able to claim up to 2% of the property's market value in rent. In this way, property owners will be unable to evict tenants from their property, however owners will be given compensation for their property in accordance with principles established in the courts. The government will be paying for the rent increase.

Correspondingly, Malta has the lowest number of women in parliament in the EU, with only 13% of women occupying the chairs. Malta also falls short of female representation in the national government (in terms of senior and junior ministers), where women only held 8% of such posts in 2020, making it the lowest percentage in the EU. 



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