The person behind the name – Sigmund Mifsud (PL)
As Election Day looms closer we’ll bring you short interviews with those at the centre of the ballots – the candidates themselves.
The three political parties were sent the same questions to pass on to their respective candidates. To date the Nationalist party has sent no replies.
The life of Malta Philharmonic Orchestra musician, Sigmund Mifsud, 39, from Sliema, was more geared towards music rather than politics, but all that changed. Music arranger and producer and managing director of an entertainment company he will be contesting the General Elections on Districts 9 (Għargħur, Msida, San Ġwann, Swieqi, Madliena, Ta’ Xbiex) and Districts 10 (Gżira, Pembroke, St Julians, Paceville, Sliema ) .
What attracted you to choose a political career?
It was never my intention to be involved in politics, but when Joseph Muscat approached me, an artist, to join the PL, it confirmed the vision conveyed by the party leader, that all sectors will be given the due importance, including culture and the arts, which in my opinion, for many years, has been considered of minimal importance.
What makes you believe in your party?
PL offers a change in mentality. People need to be trusted more, based on their talent, not their contacts. If we believe we can have a better quality of life, we need to employ our abilities and talent to the full, irrespective of the political belief. When Joseph Muscat says "tista ma taqbilx magħna, imma tista taħdem magħna", it is a very strong, forward looking statement.
Which party values and policies do you cherish most?
My priority would be to bring more respect towards local artists. Art has to be respected as a profession, not be treated as a hobby. We need to find constructive ways to popularise our talent and educate people to appreciate local talent and everything that forms part of our cultural heritage. We need to set a better education system in this area with professionals teaching all forms of art and create more opportunities for local artists, not just to showcase their talent but to become professionals and earn a decent living. We also need to maximise collaboration projects through EU funds. There is more room for job creation in this sector that has been neglected for too long. The Electoral Manifest presented by the PL supports these ideas.
What can you offer to the electorate and if elected, are there any particular issues you will campaign for?
Elected or not I have learnt that politics gives you the means to help people and I intend to keep doing so. My career gave me the opportunity to communicate with people through music whilst through politics I can help people in more ways and towards a better standard of living. I want to be not just the voice of minority groups, but be the changing agent. I will definitely work and support the Culture Sector.
PL is breaking away from its traditional image, while PN is slowly moving towards a more inclusive attitude. What are your views on both?
Joseph Muscat’s vision of introducing this movement is now being understood better by many. One might not totally agree with the left ideologies, but this is a party that has opened its doors to everyone and considered every contribution. This is the future of politics; the idea that one needs to brand himself PN to be successful in Malta is finally fading away and although PN is slowly trying to move towards a more inclusive attitude I think they are still far away; and probably the only way the PN will regenerate itself is by loosing this election.
Given your background (career) what policies and bill/s will you lobby for?
Surely, coming from the Culture Sector, I will support and lobby for any legislation that will improve this sector. An important revision which I would like to work on is the section of our legislation that regulates permits for events, especially outdoor events; this needs to be put under study and revised to service the purpose of supporting such cultural events rather than hinder any initiative from local artists.
What should the public expect from a new government?
PL is a team of dynamic people that have the energy, new ideas and good will to give Malta a better future; but above all PL is showing accountability and reliability.
How do you rate the current electoral campaign and the proposals launched so far?
PN themselves admitted that PL have a better campaign. This became more obvious when PN started questioning from where we are getting the funding. In the end PL managed to be more efficient and put up a campaign that is less costly and more effective than that of PN. Our proposals are a mirror of the work which has been done, for the last five years, not a rushed document compiled for an election. We have listened to the general public and people from all walks of life, we understood their problems and even asked about their dreams and, and this is all reflected in the manifesto.
‘Fil-Parlament ma jikbrux fjuri’ – How do you plan to be effective in Parliament?
The advantage of having a young prime minister who can, not only plan, but also dream of a better future, refuses to accept mediocrity will lead to a more efficient parliament. A PL government will need to prove itself and I believe Joseph Muscat has the determination and will offer more accountability in all government issues to lead to a more efficient country.
PL has been in the Opposition for years. Is the party ready to govern? Why?
Undoubtedly; the homework was done well, we have a great team and we have experts in all sectors. We are ready not just to govern but to make the difference.
Why should people vote in new blood over serving MPs? In a parliamentary structure shrouded in allegations and lack of accountability, why do you want to get involved?
A very good friend of mine asked me why I decide to get involved in politics; when it is deemed to be so corrupted. I stressed the point that politics is a tool to help people and if used as it should, it will lead to very positive results. I want to bring change in the mentality not only towards the way people look at artists, but also towards respecting diversity, I want to help those people who are being rejected by the system, I want to actively be part of the change that this country needs.