The government is refuting criticism of Sai Mizzi Liang’s achievements as Malta’s special envoy to Asia, saying that “further initiatives” are in the pipeline and will be announced “in due time”.

The statement was issued by the Prime Minister’s spokesman in reply to questions by the Times of Malta, after state investment arm Malta Enterprise refused to divulge any details on her performance citing confidentiality.

So far the only public result of Ms Mizzi Liang’s three-year stint in Shanghai is the opening of a representative office in Smart City by China’s Huawei technology giant. The office has so far remained closed and is only used when representatives of the Chinese company visit Malta.

Though the Prime Minister’s spokesman was more forthcoming than Malta Enterprise, his reply offered very little in terms of tangible evidence of Ms Mizzi Liang’s achievements, apart from the Huawei agreement.

“During her term so far, Sai Mizzi Liang managed to conclude on behalf of the Maltese government a ‘short and medium term cooperation agreement with China’ and brought to Malta telecoms giant Huawei.”

Sai Mizzi Liang managed to conclude a short and medium term cooperation agreement with China

He added that the technology company last week had signed a joint declaration with Malta “which will lead to a strategic alliance agreement to establish an innovation centre in Malta”.

This was another stage of the strategic relationship between the two sides following the Memorandum of Understanding signed last July, the spokesman said.

In its reply, the Prime Minister’s Office insisted that, thanks to Ms Mizzi Liang’s efforts, economic relations with China had improved drastically and that she had supported numerous Maltese delegations to China, apart from setting up a consulate in Shanghai.

“Further initiatives are also in the pipeline and will be announced in due time. This alone is much more than any Nationalist administration achieved over the years,” the spokesman said.

Ms Mizzi Liang’s appointment in 2013, soon after Labour was elected to government, had fuelled controversy, both for her monthly financial package of €13,000 and also due to the fact that she was the wife of Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi.

Since then she has been kept under constant scrutiny by the Opposition which deemed her appointment as smacking of nepotism and an affront to Labour’s pre-election pledge of meritocracy.

Last month Dr Mizzi announced that his wife would be relinquishing her post at the end of her three-year contract. The decision was communicated soon after he was elected Labour deputy leader for party affairs.

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