Malta is paying the price for having allowed “personal greed to overcome prudence” and the country now faced an uphill struggle to regain the ethical and moral high ground, the country’s development lobby has said.

In its first statement since the ongoing political crisis began, the Malta Developers Association also warned stakeholders in the construction and real estate sector to “tread carefully and with responsibility, and to avoid overexposure”.

The MDA said that the Prime Minister’s resignation was an “inevitable” consequence of recent circumstances and said it hoped the Labour Party would quickly resolve the situation and elect a new leader who could “build on the economic achievements of the administrations led by the outgoing Prime Minister”.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has said he will step down in January, once a new Labour leader has been chosen. Protesters and the Opposition however insist he should leave immediately as he has now become deeply involved in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder investigation.  

The man accused of having masterminded her murder, businessman Yorgen Fenech, has told a court that Dr Muscat’s former chief of staff Keith Schembri used to pass him classified information about the case and gave him advanced warning that his phone was being tapped.

Mr Fenech has also told investigators that Mr Schembri was the man who was really behind the whole plot to assassinate the journalist.

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In its statement, the MDA said that the ongoing crisis was doing “untold harm” to Malta’s international reputation and that the country could not allow the situation to fester.

The lobby group, which represents developers and many real estate agents, also had some words of advice for the person who would be replacing Dr Muscat.

“The new Prime Minister would do well to ensure that those around the most powerful office of the Maltese state consider their input to the administration as valuable to help the country move forward and not for personal gain. Unfortunately, we have seen personal greed overcome prudence and the country is paying for this mistake,” it said.

Maltese entrpreneurs did not need cronyism or corruption to succeed, they said.

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