Salvu Mallia: Euthanasia Shouldn't Be Decided By Some "Asshole" In Parliament
"I am for divorce. I am for gay marriage. I am for everything"
TV personality and PN candidate Salvu Mallia has given what might be the most eyebrow-raising interview we've read in months. Speaking to the Times of Malta, he put the candid in his candidature by having no holds barred on what he deems acceptable and unacceptable in politics today.
Mallia admits to having been apolitical, and having voted for the Labour party in the last election. But now he believes that the government is "rotten to the core", and that politics in Malta needs to be led by conscience rather than party allegiance.
The interview is packed full of "did he really just say that?" moments. But, in the midst of his contrarian crusade, Mallia does hit the nail on the head with a few issues.
Here's our pick for the most salient points Mallia made in his interview:
1. Parliament should not have the authority on euthanasia
Mallia asserts that he is ultra-liberal, that he is pro-divorce and pro-gay marriage. He also touches on more controversial debates such as abortion and euthanasia, and with the latter, states that the government's only responsibility is to provide adequate education to society so that individuals can make up their own mind.
"The government should provide a good education system, allowing people to think and decide for themselves"Salvu Mallia, interview Times of Malta
Last year Lovin Malta published a personal account written by Sam De Battista, who after being diagnosed with Huntington's Disease vocalised her cause to secure the right to end her life with dignity in her home country. Her frank words resonated with Civil Liberties Minister Helena Dalli who agreed to meet Sam on our request.
With hundreds of readers also engaging with Sam's story, it seems that Mallia might have targeted the exact nerve waiting to be struck. Here's hoping it won't remain a throw-away statement in an interview, and turn into a more active debate in Maltese politics this year.
2. The government must be more transparent
Mallia doesn't skirt around his disdain for the Labour party and Joseph Muscat. Describing him as an "evil man", he talks about the Labour party's conspiracies to plunder the Maltese economy from the get-go. But somewhere in between the sensationalist lines, Mallia does touch on a point which does resonate with the Maltese voter – transparency.
"How can a government take your money without telling you where it is going? The government is duty bound to offer an explanation about this. Joseph Muscat had been promising to publish all the big contracts signed. I think the PN needs to be a lot more forceful"Salvu Mallia, interview Times of Malta
According to a survey commissioned by the Malta Independent, nearly half of the population believe that the government is corrupt. So, seeing as more transparency would arguably assuage this sentiment, and forgetting all the hot-headed digs, Mallia seems to be in line with the majority of people on this one.
3. The opposition leader needs to be more forceful
Yup – he went there. When asked whether Simon Busuttil should appear to be more forceful as a leader, Mallia replied matter-of-factly: "I think so, yes", and even admitted that he might get in trouble for saying so.
"It is a matter of personality. Simon Busuttil is who he is. I think he is an honest person"Salvu Mallia, interview Times of Malta
In an interview last year with Simon Busuttil, Lovin Malta asked a similar question to the man himself. His reply: “Do you think it would have been easy for anyone to get into the shoes of Eddie Fenech Adami and Lawrence Gonzi?”.
Not exactly an answer that exudes Spartan force... or is it new-found strength in the concrete resolution of a truthful reply? Whichever interpretation you lean more towards at least you can applaud Mallia for refreshingly discussing the subject.
4. Even if you don't care about politicians, it doesn't mean you don't care about politics
Throughout the interview, Mallia is asked a number of questions about the history of his party, about the current state of affairs, about his seemingly paradoxical position – and his responses are unapologetically evasive. He admits openly that he has changed his mind a number of times, and generally is not a politicians' politician.
"There were some elections in which I did not even vote because I do not like politicians. I think it is true that most politicians are there for their own benefit. But you start seeing certain things, and decide that it is time for change"Salvu Mallia, interview Times of Malta
Aside from perhaps unwittingly becoming a mascot for the portion of Maltese society who cares about politics but not politicians – meaning they might not know every politician's name and title, but they care about how their country is governed – Mallia's position taps into an interesting trend.
Do societies even need politicians? Lovin Malta posed that question a few months back in light of the impact of social media on decisions such as the morning-after pill. Of course, Malta and the whole world are lightyears away from e-mocracy trumping democracy, but with people like Mallia hopping on for the ride the journey is proving to be more and more interesting.