Labour MP Marlene Farrugia today said that the controversial citizenship scheme was an effort by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to meet people’s expectations without raising taxes.
“In the rush to give the maximum back to the population in a short amount of time, the Prime Minister wanted to make a difference without raising taxes or the deficit,” Dr Farrugia said onGhandi xi Nghid on TVM.
“The scheme was introduced too soon, all consultation should have been carried out in depth. The Opposition had to be consulted more and consensus should have been sought straight away,” Dr Farrugia continued.
The backbench MP said that she was “hurt” by the media reports portraying Malta in a bad light over the scheme, but said that the fact that Dr Muscat is now willing to listen and discuss the scheme has “redeemed” her faith in him.
Dr Farrugia said that the scheme should be linked to investment, as in its current guise, “it looks like we are selling our country.”
“The next thing to do would have been to go to the EU and ask them for cash in exchange for making the migrants in our country Maltese citizens,” Dr Farrugia said pointedly.
The MP said that her outspoken approach is not a sign of rebellion, rather it is a sign that she wants to keep the movement that the electorate was promised prior to the March election alive.
“I believe in the movement, , whenever I speak out it is because I want this movement to succeed. If I do not speak up then I feel as if I’m playing a part in burying the movement,” Dr Farrugia said.
Dr Farrugia said that we will not be accepting any ministerial roles or consultancies, as the role of a backbencher can be fulfilled much better if there are no ties to the executive branch.
“ I could not take the stands that I am taking if I were in the Cabinet, because you have collective ministerial responsibility there and you cannot speak out. As a backbencher my job is to scrutinise the work of the government. Unfortunately, there is the perception that if you give your opinion about an issue, even if it as odds with the government, then you will be seen as destroying your political career,” Dr Farrugia said.