Updated 5pm

The Opposition is inconsistent in its criticism of the country’s institutions, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said on Sunday.

Speaking briefly to ONE Radio via telephone, Dr Muscat said while on the one hand the Opposition argues that the island’s institutions have been “hijacked by the government”, its representatives were now quitting these same entities.

On Tuesday, Nationalist Party MP Ryan Callus quit his post on the Lands Authority’s board of governors, becoming the second Opposition MP to resign from a prominent government board in days. 

Just days earlier, the Opposition’s representative on the Planning Authority board, Marthese Portelli, handed in her resignation in the wake of backlash over the PA’s decision to allow a developer to turn a small room in the Qala countryside into a villa with a pool.

Dr Muscat said this was also the case with the Opposition’s stance on the state of the country’s courts. Whenever the courts handed down a sentence that went against the PN the Opposition was quick to criticise but when it ruled in the party’s favour, it heaped praise.

Dr Muscat said that such an approach was a problem not only for the institutions but also for the Opposition itself. 

He said that the government would continue to work on reforms to the institutions, pointing out this was the government with least power over the institutions. 

Referring to the European Commission’s Autumn Economic Forecast, published last week, Dr Muscat said this proved the government’s plans were a success and would continue to be. 

While the government would continue with its present efforts, it would also work on identifying “new challenges”, which included bridging the gender pay gap.

On migration, Dr Muscat said a number of migrants had left the island this week as part of relocation agreements Malta had with other EU countries.  

Institutions 'systematically undermined' - PN

In a statement in response, the PN said that under Dr Muscat's government, the country's institutions were being run by "individuals and forces that ignore the common good and work towards political convenience". 

With direct governmental interference and "systematic undermining", institutions were safeguarding only the interests of the few, the party said. 

"There is a growing need for change in the workings of our institutions to protect transparency, strengthen meritocracy and put an end to efforts to undermine them," the party said.