[WATCH] Joseph Muscat 'trusted because Maltese are profit-driven', says Nationalist MP

Trust ratings of political party leaders reflects divide between those who prioritise profit over values locally, says David Stellini

Nationalist MP David Stellini said that within the EU,  rule of law is more important than profit
Nationalist MP David Stellini said that within the EU, rule of law is more important than profit

Most people in Malta are probably profit-driven – as opposed to "values-driven Europeans" – and that is why Malta’s corruption perception ranking remains negative despite trust levels favouring prime minister Joseph Muscat, Nationalist MP David Stellini suggested today.

Stellini, who was appearing on Xtra, hosted by Saviour Balzan, said that Prime Minister Joseph Muscat was judged by locals based on how their life was impacted on a daily basis, whereas the EU judged Malta differently. “Outside of our country, the situation is viewed through a different lens.”

“One can be profit-driven, or values-driven; in which case the rule of law is more important than profit. In the EU, there is a lot of the latter.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela, also a guest on the programme, said that the government could not neglect bread and butter issues and had never left anyone behind.

That was what had happened in 2013 when bills were too high, proving problematic for families and industries, and when certain issues which had not been solved by previous administrations had been tackled. 

Under the PN administration, Abela said, ‘values’ in regards to the environment were not respected when the law prohibiting the use of heavy fuel oil was changed in order to favour its use, which he said was done in order to pay for corruption related to the oil trade. 

This led the country to suffer, while the standard of living failed to rise, Abela said. “Corruption by the PN was proven. ‘Values’, in this case, did not come into play.”

He said the current administration introduced the Whistleblowers Act among other changes to fight corruption. “We improved the quality of life and also introduced laws which protect the people. These are the values we believe in.” 

Reacting to the corruption index report published in the morning, the minister said that the corruption perception levels had remained more or less the same “despite criticism and attacks against Malta.”

He said that some Maltese MEPs, instead of defending their country, were taking actions against it, contrary to what other European Parliament members did. “Other MEPs whose respective countries are also under scrutiny do not adopt this attitude.”

Abela said that in his 21 years of being politics, he always put the country’s interests before the party’s – because once the seeds of negativity are sown, things would not change once the government changes. 

But Stellini objected and said that a number of MEPs did exactly what the Nationalist members were doing, citing Hungarian, Romanian, Italian and Polish MEPs as examples. The corruption index, he said, put Malta on the same level as those countries, explaining that the index was very negative for Malta. 

“The Minister has the difficult task of fixing this index result,” Stellini said, explaining that he wishes for Malta to move up in the index and for the standard of living to reach that of Luxembourg and the UK.

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