UPDATE: 'PL will mess things up' - PN
In response to comments made earlier by Labour Party (PL) leader Joseph Muscat, the Nationalist Party (PN) replied that Dr Muscat first started talking about the living wage, which he then put aside, and now he has decided that once in government, he will freeze the minimum wage.
“Now that it has been revealed that due to his incompetence he will create a big deficit which he will make up for by riding on the worker’s back, Dr Muscat is in a state of panic and will continue to mess things up,” PN said in a statement.
“It is really a case of not knowing where you stand with Joseph Muscat and PL. With power in its hands, PL will mess things up and families and workers will end up paying for it,” PN added.
PN said this is not the change that the people want. “Labour won’t work. It will freeze the minimum wage and the people most in need will suffer most. A government led by Joseph Muscat will be a government without a social conscience,” PN said.
Earlier today at the conclusion of the PL Congress, Dr Muscat said that people are cynical about trusting the government of GonziPN with another term in government as this is the government that has taken the island for a ride.
Dr Muscat stated that through the past week, the PL Movement has held responsible discussions with anyone who was interested to air their view.
No discrimination was made and any NGO, constituted body, private entity and the general public, irrelevant of their political beliefs, had the possibility to put forward any criticism and proposals. “I look at last week’s Congress as an important step towards a government that is open to the public’s views; in fact we are looking at the possibility of institutionalising the Congress,” the PL Leader said.
The yardstick of the PL Movement is not saying yes to everyone in order to reap votes, but is only agreeing to policies and issues that a new Labour government can actually deliver. This entails a situation where the party has to put its foot down and say no to certain proposals, Joseph Muscat argued, using the issue of a raise in the minimum wage and nationalisation of public companies as examples of unaccepted proposals.
The PL Congress was a stocktaking exercise to better understand the present situation and lay out a 12 point roadmap for the future of the island, without any disjointed policies, Dr Muscat explained. The proposals that the PL will put forward once the Prime Minister announces the election date, will lead to a sustainable growth in the economy with the help of the private sector without adding more burdens on public finances.
Government has ignored all proposals put forward by the Opposition in the past four and a half years, and now GonziPN is refusing to understand the PL’s policy regarding the minimum wage, Joseph Muscat said. The PL Movement, in synergy with all constituted bodies, have agreed that a raise in the minimum wage outside the COLA agreement at this moment will only burden employers, however this does not preclude raises coming from cost of living increases.
The final aim of the policy guidelines is to create a new middle class away from the fears of the past. Instead of proposing new ideas GonziPN is instilling fear in the people by recalling the past, opposing the PL is making every effort to ensure a better future, Dr Muscat said. “Lifting people form near poverty and giving the presently dying middleclass its purchasing power and more disposable income will generate a more stable economy, whilst ensuring that the upper class is not effected and the private sector not dented,” emphasised Dr Muscat.
Gonzi PN is frozen in conservative ideologies that belong to the past, leading to a more pronounced difference between the two parties on policies regarding civil liberties, public wealth and a more inclusive society. The PL is going through a process of changes promoting open door polices and will acknowledge every idea the public submit. This does not mean that every idea will be taken on board but decisions will be adopted in a responsible way, the LP leader held, whilst concluding that,” we’ve listened to the people from the seats of the opposition and I guarantee that we will listen to them form the seats of the government too.”
PL’s Executive President Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi expressed his satisfaction at the way the Congress progressed and also at the policy guidelines that resulted for the Congress. The theme ‘A Future that Unites Us’, could not have been portrayed in a better way than what took place during last week, the PL President said.
PL’s Executive Secretary Lydia Abela, was also present for the press conference and held that the future in politics is in politicians that can listen to the people more than talk to them. She also presented to the media the 12 policy guidelines that will form the basis of the PL’s electoral manifest, which as Dr Muscat said will be published at the appropriate time.