Malta Developers’ Association head Sandro Chetcuti has made an impassioned plea for the state to finance political parties, warning that his members have had enough of politicians pestering them for money.
“Like the rest of the business community, our members, who are often unjustly accused of having politicians in their pockets, are seriously fed up of being continuously pestered by political parties, by both upcoming and experienced politicians, to contribute to their fundraising activities and telethons every few months,” Chetcuti wrote in Times of Malta.
“Ironically, while many of our members and other businessmen from all sectors help all parties, even in difficult circumstances, they are usually accused of giving in order to receive.”
“While I don’t exclude that this may be the case for some individuals, this is surely not the case for the majority of our members, who operate small businesses with very restricted profit margins.”
“The irony is that we are almost ‘forced’ to contribute as ‘all the others do’. That is why the current situation is turning us into victims of an unsustainable system. It is time to change all this.”
Chetcuti described the current salary of MPs, just over €21,000 a year, as “miserable” and proposed that Parliament become a full-time job, with MPs paid decent salaries, so as to encourage the best minds and talent to enter politics.
“If we want to move forward, we need politicians to dedicate all their time to the common good and be paid decently,” he said.
“We need to attract the best minds and talent to our political system. Only in this way can politics start becoming attractive to our best brains. If we believe that political parties are crucial for a functioning democracy, we can no longer tolerate those embarrassing televised marathons with the party faithful churning out cash from donations given by ‘friends’.”
“Public financing of our political parties is not something we should fear. It is surely much better than having parties and politicians beg businessmen for funds.”
Chetcuti also welcomed Environment and Planning Minister Aaron Farrugia’s decision to set up a transparency register to log all his meetings with stakeholders.
“Our job is primarily to lobby in the interests of our members and we have no problem in being as transparent as possible,” he said.