The government’s vision is to see Malta become a cosmopolitan country where the Maltese have the best standard of living ever while the country also offers life, jobs and hope for people from other countries, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said this morning.
This, he said, was nothing new and was also Dom Mintoff’s vision as long ago as the 1950s.
Speaking in a Labour Party activity in St Paul’s Bay, Dr Muscat said economic growth needed manpower, but the Maltese were not interested in taking up some jobs, such as in the construction industry.
Malta was also reliant on foreigners in other sectors, such as in the e-gaming industry, which in turn created more jobs for the Maltese.
Referring to migration from Africa, he said Malta needed to continue to show humanity and realism in tackling migration. It could not let anyone drown but that did not mean that nothing could be done to tackle this form of migration.
Understanding needed to be shown and answers needed to be given to the communities who felt threatened by foreigners.
“When parties and politicians like us do not talk of what is impacting the young family in Qawra or the elderly woman living in Marsa then that is a problem.
“If we do not understand these people, then they will seek answers elsewhere and that is when extremists who wave flags and call for shooting of people coming into the Mediterranean come in,” Dr Muscat went on.
The government, he said wanted to ensure that foreigners were paid as much as the Maltese, so stop abuse and also because such measure could lead employers to engage Maltese rather than foreigners, when Maltese manpower was available.
“We need to manage change before change manages us,” he said, explaining how the government viewed Malta as becoming a cosmopolitan country.
Turning to other issues, the prime minister said the government wanted to work with all those who wished to see Malta progress and would not give in to the provocation of the extremists who were even turning against those in the PN who were not extremist.
“In the face of provocation, we extend a hand of friendship. It is much easier to build walls of hatred. But no, we do not want to fall for that,” the Prime Minister said.
He insisted that there was a growing group of people “with a great sense of dignity and proportion” and while these people criticised the bad and acknowledged the good, they did so without resorting to extremism.
“The PN is now coming up with things that are surreal. They came up with a conspiracy theory that we organised last month’s hijack. When you have an Opposition that resorting to this sort of thing, it’s unbelievable.
“This week, they came up with a second conspiracy that we switched off the power supply. Are they being serious?” Dr Muscat went on, adding that the power cut served as proof that the government’s energy plan was a much-needed one.