The Malta Developers Association has called on the government to make political parties state-funded so that politicians would not need money from big business to operate.

“This would eliminate the wrong perception that business people give donations to parties to advance their own interests,” the association said in its budget proposals.

“This way, no party would feel indebted to any company or business person.”

Concerns over politicians’ relationships with business people have increased in recent years, most notably after Yorgen Fenech, the business mogul and suspected mastermind of the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder, was exposed to have had close ties with politicians and party officials on both sides of the aisle.

A number of NGOs also claim Malta’s corrupt practices and rampant construction are largely due to a system that allows political parties to receive large donations from business people who then expect to be favoured in their business ventures in return.

PN leader Bernard Grech has made similar pleas in the past days. He is calling for the state to direct more financial and human resources to the office of the opposition leader.

Among other proposals for Monday’s budget, the MDA also asked the government to consider extending the first-time and second-time buyers schemes along with the other existing schemes and to introduce new ones which would benefit both property sellers and buyers.

“We propose a tax refund of one per cent over the value of the entire property to people who buy properties with the highest environmental standards, as certified by the EPC-A,” the association said.

“This would increase demand for more environmentally friendly buildings.”

The MDA also suggests the government gives everyone the chance to come forward with previously undeclared income against a penalty of five per cent of the amount, thereby regularising undeclared cash, so long as it is not the result of criminal activities.

It said this would put income back into the economy and be a step forward towards taking Malta off the grey list.

The scheme would be temporary and the authorities would clamp down on abuse in the future, the MDA proposed.

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