An injured migrant worker was dumped on the side of the road after falling two storeys from a construction site, according to a woman who stopped to help him.
Police are investigating claims the man's boss abandoned him on Selmun road in Mellieħa because he was working without a permit.
Caroline Galea shared pictures of the incident on Facebook after stopping to help the worker at around 11.30am on Tuesday.
She told Times of Malta that the injured man said his boss had told him he was going to take him to hospital but then stopped and instead ordered him to get out.
"The man was crying and kept saying I don't want to die, I don't want to go to prison," Galea said.
She said she tried to calm him down before the ambulance and police arrived at the scene.
He repeatedly complained of pain in his wrist and seemed as though he had a broken arm, she said.
Every few minutes he would get into a panic and asked her repeatedly to call his wife.
“I am beyond disgusted,” she said.
The incident raises questions about the treatment of migrant workers in Malta working as labourers on building sites.
Galea said he was "too scared" to say who had abandoned him on the road.
"The legal ramifications of [the man working without a permit] seem to outweigh ensuring the safety and care of a fellow human," she said.
A police officer who arrived shortly before the ambulance also could be heard trying to reassure the man who was fearing he would be arrested, in footage seen by Times of Malta.
"You said your boss did this to you my friend. He is an animal," the police man could be heard saying.
Employers slam 'obscene' incident
In response, the Malta Employers' Association described the incident as "obscene", "abusive" and "unacceptable in a civilised society".
It said it "condemned without reservation the incident whereby an injured construction worker was dumped on the side of a road instead of being taken to hospital."
It appealed to the police to establish what happened and to bring anyone responsible to justice.
In a separate statement, the Malta Chamber condemned "the vile lack of humanity" shown towards the worker.
It said it had always advocated fair and equal treatment of all workers regardless of nationality across all sectors of the economy.
It called on all relevant stakeholders and authorities to immediately carve out a strategy to tackle this issue in a holistic manner.
George Vella, Robert Abela, Bernard Grech react
In a post on Facebook, President George Vella hoped that whoever was responsible was found and faced justice. He also wished the migrant a speedy recovery.
"Who allegedly abandoned him in such a cruel manner should pay for his actions," Vella said.
Prime Minister Robert Abela made reference to the incident in the afternoon.
"If indeed true, this is totally unexpected. I am informed that the police have already started investigating the case," he said.
"This attitude will not be tolerated. Under no circumstances. Every resident in our country will receive the protection of our institutions," the prime minister said.
Opposition leader Bernard Grech said he was "shocked" by the reports.
"Every person has a value that supersedes the price of the work they do. Money generation should not come at the cost of humanity," Grech said.
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