The business lobby has backed a proposed law that incorporates all the major recommendations made by the Daphne Caruana Galizia public inquiry.

In a statement on Monday, the Chamber of Commerce said it was pleased to note the proposed reform, which was put forward by the Opposition on Saturday.  

The mega-bill was unveiled by Opposition leader Bernard Grech and includes 12 different bills that amend Malta's criminal code or constitution, to bring laws in line with what judges who drafted the Caruana Galizia inquiry report advised needed to change.

Its proposals range from making obstruction of justice a crime to allowing the police to detain suspects in major crimes without charges for 72 hours instead of the 48 currently permitted. It also includes a proposal to introduce an Unexplained Wealth Order law.

The chamber said it was pleased to note that the Opposition had taken the initiative and said it was now up to MPs to see the reforms introduced as laws. 

“Parliament is the legislative arm of the country, and it is indeed the job of our parliamentarians, from both sides of the house, to legislate and make legislative proposals,” the chamber said.  

The chamber said it was also aware of the government’s statement - that it has consulted broadly with local stakeholders and international experts with the aim of setting up a committee of experts on the legislative changes required.

The chamber said it hoped that both sides of the house will work in tandem to see the required legislative changes through without delay.

Published in July, the Caruana Galizia inquiry report concluded that the state bore responsibility for the journalist's murder, as it had fostered a culture of impunity stretching to the highest echelons of power. 

Caruana Galizia was assassinated in October 2017.

The three-person board of inquiry made a series of recommendations about how laws and processes should be changed to prevent a similar crime from reoccurring. 

Abela had reacted to the report by apologising on the state's behalf and pledging to incorporate the inquiry's recommendations following consultation.

The PN has since noted that six months down the line, those recommendations have not yet been acted on.  The government insists that it has spent that time consulting with stakeholders ahead of unveiling legislative proposals. 

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