The way the Maltese state functions is unrecognisable from January 2020 when he took over as prime minister, Robert Abela told parliament on Friday. 

Abela was speaking during a parliamentary debate he called to discuss an inquiry into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, which he published on Thursday. 

He insisted that the government he led was altogether different to the one he had inherited when he took over as prime minister, following Joseph Muscat's resignation in the wake of national anti-corruption protests. 

“Can it work better? Of course it can. That is why I have committed to a programme to implement the inquiry board’s recommendations”, Abela told MPs.

The prime minister gave a rundown of recent reforms, including the arm’s length appointments of the police commissioner and chief justice.

Abela reminded how the government had also split the attorney general’s functions into two, and given the judiciary more resources than it ever had.

I am prime minister of a country that wants to move forward.- Robert Abela

“These are concrete reforms that were not easy to carry out. We carried them out, and we will continue carrying them out. We are not happy with the status quo”.

No one should be killed for what they write

Turning to the role of journalists, Abela said the inquiry contained many important recommendations to give the profession the necessary support it needed.

Abela, who has yet to make his latest tax returns public, said those who did not want to ensure scrutiny should stay away from public life. 

"If we are not going to understand this, we would have learnt nothing". 

[attach id=1090186 size="large" align="left" type="image"]Prime minister Robert Abela opened Friday's debate.[/attach]

The prime minister said no one should be killed for what they believe in or what they write, in no country in the world, much less in an EU country.

On the relationship between politics and big business, Abela said the choice of his team reflected his belief that there should be a distinction between the two. 

Business, however, should not be regarded as the plague, particularly as the absolute majority of businesses in Malta are legitimate ones that follow the laws of the country.

He vowed the government would be there to continue offering the necessary support.

Abela said the reforms being undertaken by the government to improve Malta’s reputation would be of benefit to businesses too.

The prime minister vowed he would continue moving the country forward with concrete reforms and results, rather than playing the blame game.

“I am prime minister of a country that wants to move forward. I want to give people a positive choice. We will learn from our mistakes, but keep moving forward”.

Abela said no one in the country would enjoy impunity under his watch.

He said ongoing investigations would continue to receive all the necessary support. 

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