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MT 25 May 2017

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maltatoday, THURSDAY, 25 MAY 2017 7 News Busuttil's dithering over IIP true risk to real estate sector, Muscat warns TIM DIACONO SIMON Busuttil's indecision and U-turns over the sale-of-citizenship scheme poses a serious risk to the real estate sector, Prime Minister and Labour leader Joseph Muscat said yesterday. Addressing a political activity in Birkirkara, Muscat dismissed Busuttil's warnings that the financial services and real estate sectors will be dealt a damag- ing blow if Labour wins the election as such a vote would amount to a green- lighting of corruption. "If these companies were going to leave, then they would have already left," he said. "He's playing the same broken record that we've been hearing for a long time To the people working in construction, I ask you whether you have ever has much work as you've had in the past four years." He noted that Busuttil had originally been against the Individual Investor Pro- gramme (IIP) out of principle, but recently said that he will keep the scheme, and lat- er said that he will change it. "We still don't know exactly how he plans to change the IIP, and that it was what will bring uncertainty," he said. "There is a risk that Busuttil will become Prime Minister, lead a government with a one-seat majority in Parliament and have to negotiate with Marlene Farrugia who is against the IIP in principle. That is when foreigners will tell us 'thank you and goodbye'" Muscat also warned that the PN's elec- toral promises are unsustainable and dis- proportionate and, if implemented, will force a future government to raise taxes elsewhere. "We won't enter an auction of proposals with them, but instead stick to our costed plans. It's easy to make promises, but at the end of the day the promises will be funded by taxpayers' money, and we don't want to reach a situation when we'll be forced to increase taxes." 'Malta Files a storm in a teacup' Muscat also played down the recent publication of the Malta Files as a storm in a teacup, arguing that he hasn't heard such complaints about Malta's taxation system from European leaders and min- isters. Relying on 100,000s of documents pub- lished by the European Investigative Col- laborations, the Malta Files details how the island is used as a European centre of tax avoidance. The research was un- dertaken by 13 European media houses, including MaltaToday. However, Muscat took heart from its lack of coverage from "the largest interna- tional media houses" "The fact that many large foreign media houses ignored this news shows that there is nothing to worry about," he said. 'Salvu Mallia's insult to Muscat hurt me more than my cancer' The political activity was also addressed by Mariella Attard, a recovering cancer pa- tient who recounted her "pain" upon hear- ing PN candidate Salvu Mallia describe Joseph Muscat as a cancer. "A day after my fourth round of chemo- therapy, I found out that Salvu Mallia had compared Muscat to cancer, and that comment hurt me even more than the chemotherapy I had received a day earlier," she said. "Although I was in pain, I wrote a letter on Facebook to Simon Busuttil to ask him why he is allowing a potential minister to speak in that way. I asked him whether he knows how painful cancer is, how much the treatment induces you to tears. I thought he would ask me whether I needed some help, but instead he told me that Salvu Mallia has been working in theatre for 40 years and expresses himself theatrically." It was also addressed by Moira Gauci, who said she is a traditional Nationalist supporter but will be voting for Labour for the first time on June 3, after acknowledg- ing the positive social measures introduced by the current administration. "When I announced my decision on Face- book, many people started criticising me – calling me corrupt and ignorant and claim- ing that I have no idea what I'm doing." Muscat says the choice is clear WITH 10 days to go for Elec- tion Day, Labour leader Joseph Muscat yesterday descended on a crowded Paola square pushing for a Labour win: "Do you want the politics of the past where politicians fail to keep their word or our politics whether the public got a taste of what we can achieve when we deliver on our promises. Whilst others said high utility bills, we send in cheques." To the disgruntled voters, Muscat reiterated that those who don't go out to vote would only be "laying out the red car- pet for Marlene Farrugia and Simon Busuttil". Addressing the mass rally, he made a list of measures that the PL in government had delivered, despite statements by the PN prior to the 2013 elections that the promises would not be kept. "But we did deliver and we will continue to deliver because our country now affords. We prom- ise to leave you more dispos- able income and money which you can save for your children," Muscat said. The Labour leader insisted that it was important to pass on the message that it was instabil- ity that scared away investment and endangered jobs. According to Muscat, if elected, the PN-PD coalition would result in an un- stable government. "They can't even agree between themselves on spring hunting or the motor racetrack… just imagine them him [Simon Bu- suttil] wanting one thing and her [Marlene Farrugia] wanting another. Just imagine a weak prime minister, with one-seat majority, that dismantles all that we have built together." The Prime Minister said that never as much as the past four years did Malta flourish, with record high employment levels and property sold. "Like they tried to scare you away from us four years ago, they are doing the same today. But you know that they have been proven wrong. Only stabil- ity and certainty can bring in- vestment to our country." According to Muscat, stability could only be ensured if the La- bour government is re-elected to a second term: "This can only be achieved by voting for all PL candidates." On the Egrant allegation, the Labour leader reiterated that the truth will come out.

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