Opposition leader Adrian Delia has declared himself as being more conservative than his predecessor Simon Busuttil, as well as completely different in terms of character traits.
“Simon is more liberal while I’m more conservative, Simon is focused on internal discussion and research and I’m more prone to meeting with and speaking to people,” Delia said on Times Talk. “I’ve known Simon for 40 years so I know him well. I think he’s very reserved while I’m more outgoing. We’re completely different people in terms of character.”
Delia and Busuttil have had a fractious relationship so far. When he was still PN leader last year, Busuttil urged Delia to drop out of the party leadership race in light of money laundering allegations by now-assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, a request he denied.
A few months ago, Delia returned the favour and asked Busuttil to suspend himself from the PN’s parliamentary group after a magisterial inquiry found no evidence to back up Caruana Galizia’s story that Michelle Muscat owned the Panama company Egrant. However, Busuttil dismissed his request and Delia decided against instigating further action against his predecessor after his decision was criticised by a large number of his MPs.
In his interview, Delia also dismissed accusations of racism in light of his warnings of the social impact of mass immigration to Malta. He said his point was to highlight the growing wealth gap between the haves and the have-nots and the poor living conditions some foreign workers are being subjected to.
Indeed, he drew parallels with Qatar’s foreign labour workforce, which amounts to some 88% of the population but whose work and living conditions have been widely criticised.
“This is an economic statement not a populist or a conservative one,” he said. “The government is growing the economy by population and not by productivity, but if you want an influx of foreign workers then you’ve got to plan it. Every economist will tell you the Maltese economy is growing at too fast a rate. The consequences are that the few are getting richer must more quickly, which would be fine were it not for the fact that a massive portion of the population is getting poorer faster.”