Opposition leader Simon Busuttil this morning hit out at government hypocrisy over the way how appointments were being given to MPs.

He also criticised the government's plans to sell Maltese citizenship, saying government standards were falling and the opposition was working for Malta's own standards not to fall as a consequence.

Dr Busuttil recalled that before the general election, Dr Muscat used to say that politicians should not eat 'with two mouths'.

But now it had been revealed that Labour MP Silvio Schembri was eating with four mouths - he was receiving his honoraria as an MP, he was receiving a salary as a University lecturer, he was paid for his chairmanship of a parliamentary committee, and he had now been engaged as a consultant for the minister of Economic Affairs.

And his wife was a member of the Police Board and the Refugees Board, a total six mouths.

This government, Dr Busuttil said, had  an element of immorality in how it behaved, buying people's silence at taxpayers' expense.

It now also appeared that another Labour MP, Luciano Busuttil, was being appointed to head the Sports Council.

And one only needed to remember how a minister's wife was made a government envoy and was being paid €13,000 a month.

So much for what Dr Muscat used to promise about  transparency, meritocracy, political responsibility, good governance and Malta Taghna Lkoll.

CITIZENSHIP

Dr Busuttil said the government's plans to sell Maltese citizenship also had an element of immorality. This government was not only buying people's silence, but it was also selling this country's soul. 

The Opposition was concerned about how decisions on selling citizenship would be taken by the same company engaged to promote and sell this scheme. This was a clear conflict of interest.  How could this company refuse applications for citizenship when it was also promoting this scheme? 

Dr Muscat said the Opposition was ready to cooperate with the government on the Individual Investment Scheme, but to sell Maltese passports was wrong.

It appeared that the prime minister was going to a conference that would promote the sale of passports. He would be speaking on the same platform as prime ministers from Caribbean countries which were internationally regarded as tax havens. This, Dr Busuttil said, was not good for Malta's reputation.

THE BUDGET

When he spoke on the Budget, Dr Busuttil said the people expected the government to  keep its promises. So far the signs were not encouraging, he said referring to plans to raise revenue from indirect taxation by €50million.

This, he said, was a bad decision. National finances could remain sound  by reducing taxes - a formula that the PN used successfully.

The PN's appeal, he said, was for the government not to increase taxes and for it to honour its promises  - such as VAT refund on cars, tablet computers in classrooms and that medicines were delivered for free to people's homes. So far, he said, medicines were not even getting to pharmacies.

He said he expected the government to take measures to reduce the prices of medicines and food. 

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