UPDATED 11.20am: Well-known cardiologist Albert Fenech has stepped down as Nationalist MP to take on new professional engagements overseas.

Prof. Fenech said he would have to travel abroad on a monthly basis for a period of not less than four days which would mean a disturbance in parliamentary attendances.

In a two-page letter to party leader Simon Busuttil, copied to the press, Prof. Fenech said the coming months are of great importance for Malta "which sadly is experiencing events that are eroding the fundamental principles of governance and democracy".

"It is being run by an outfit (they don't deserve the name of government) that is totally lacking the capability, honesty, transparency, the moral backbone or the plain decency required to deserve the honour of running our national affairs."

Malta is being run by an outfit (they don't deserve the name of government) that is totally lacking capability, honesty, transparency and moral backbone

Prof. Fenech said he had been approached by Vitals Global Healthcare who offered him the post of medical director and head of cardiology in their new venture in Malta. VGH intended to develop St Luke's Hospital into a private hospital as well as building a new general hospital for Gozo.

"We discussed any possibility of conflict of interest as the party was not in favour of the Gozo project," he said.

Prof. Fenech said that VGH secured agreements in Georgia and Slovakia, and his appointment meant he is expected to advise and participate on these projects which would entail a considerable amount of travelling.

In a reply, the PN leader said he regretted the turn of events which developed as a result of the Labour government's "decision to throw away your outstanding skills and experience" from working at Mater Dei beyond pensionable age.

"It is nothing short of scandalous that the Health Minister finds no qualms in opening a secret company for himself in Panama, but then finds no inner strength to overcome partisan considerations and retain your services in the best interest of Maltese patients."

Labour reacts

In a statement, the Labour Party said Prof. Fenech had chosen investment instead of the Opposition leader's negativity and bitterness.

Prof. Fenech chose not to reamin an Opposition MP so that he could work on a project in favour of the Maltese in a private investment of €200 million, a project that Simon Busuttil and his party objected to.

In a post on Facebook, Labour MP and ophthalmologist Franco Mercieca questioned Prof. Fenech's real motives for stepping down: "Who do you think you're kidding? Resigning cause of duty travel? Shall we expect PN MPs to start resigning when they're abroad for four days a month? To me it's obvious that this is a forced resignation for the simple reason that Prof. Fenech endorsed and continues to support direct foreign investment in Malta that the PN elite are dead set to destroy."

Prof. Fenech was elected for the first time to parliament following a by-election on the 10th district after George Pullicino vacated his seat since he was also elected from the 9th district.


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