Mistoqsija lil Joseph u lil Simon

Muscat + Busuttil

 

 

Id-dibattitu pubbliku dwar l-onorarja, salarji u r-riforma meħtieġa dwar kif jaħdem il-Parlament ġie kontaminat minn kummenti immirati biex joqtlu diskussjoni serja.

Il-PN għadu mixgħuf bħala riżultat tal-mod dilettantesk kif żviluppa “l-iskandlu tal-€500 fil-ġimgħa”. Għalhekk il-PN qed jitkellem dwar “żieda ta’ €1000 fil-ġimgħa ” fis-salarju tal-Prim Ministru. F’moħħ il-partitarju jeħtieġ li jikkanċellaw skandlu b’ieħor.

Iżda l-każ hu ferm differenti milli qed jgħid il-PN u l-kelliema tiegħu. Dak li setà kien qabża fil-kwalità tad-dibattitu politiku fil-pajjiż spiċċa f’dibattitu kontaminat. Kontaminazzjoni li għaliha l-PN ingħataw għajnuna utli minn Joseph Muscat.

Il-Prim Ministru Joseph Muscat f’April 2013 beda fuq nota pożittiva. Flok ma ħa d-deċiżjoni bejn l-erba’ ħitan ta’ Kastilja talab rapport indipendenti.   Qabbad tlieta min-nies rispettati minn kulħadd, avolja mhux kulħadd qabel li l-ħatra tagħhom kien kostituzzjonalment pass għaqli.  Dan l-ewwel pass kien pożittiv ħafna u kien jagħti x’jifhem li  d-diskussjoni politika, wara kollox, ankè f’Malta tista’ tkun ibbażata fuq ir-raġuni. Muscat kif aġixxa kien qed iwassal il-messaġġ li ankè f’Malta jista’ jkollna diskussjoni matura.

Meta Muscat talab ir-rapport ħafna fehmu li huwa ried f’idejh proposta li toriġina minn sorsi indipendenti u fdati u li għax toriġina minn dawn is-sorsi kienet tagħlef diskussjoni serja. Il-konklużjoni tad-diskussjoni setgħet kienet fil-linja tar-rapport inkella xi ħaġa oħra differenti. Imma bla dubju l-iskop kien wieħed ta’ diskussjoni serja fuq proposta ġejja minn sorsi serji u fdati.

Ir-rapport tlesta u wasal fl-uffiċċju ta’ Joseph Muscat fl-ewwel ġranet tal-2014, sena ilu. Imbagħad ………………… skiet taqtgħu b’sikkina. Bla dubju Joseph Muscat  qara r-rapport u ħakk rasu. Imma baqa’ sieket sa mal-Malta Independent ippubblikaw il-konklużjonijiet tar-rapport dwar is-salarji. Wara dan l-Independent ippubblikaw dettalji oħra li jirriżultaw mir-rapport.

L-iktar inkwetanti kien il-pubblikazzjoni tal-kumment ta’ Joseph Muscat li hu ma jaqbilx mar-rakkomandazzjonijiet li r-rapport mitlub minnu wasal għalihom. Qal ukoll li hu ma jridx żieda fis-salarju la issa, la fi tmiem il-leġislatura u l-anqas wara.

X’ġara? Ovvju ħafna għalija x’ġara. Meta Joseph Muscat qara r-rapport ikkonkluda mill-ewwel li t-tweġiba politika tal-partit l-ieħor kienet ser tkun bl-istess linġwaġġ li hu (Muscat) iffaċċja lil Lawrence Gonzi fil-leġislatura l-oħra. Mediċina morra ħafna li ma ħasibx fiha qabel ma talab ir-rapport, għax kif żviluppaw l-affarijiet naħseb li din ir-reazzjoni kienet sfortunatament waħda inevitabbli.

Fid-dawl ta’ dan Joseph Muscat ipprova jiddistakka ruħu mir-rakkomandazzjonijiet dwar is-salarji. Dan kien attentat ftit tard biex joqtol id-diskussjoni qabel ma tibda. Imma d-diskussjoni diffiċli toqtolha u bi żball tattiku bħal dan inqas għandu ċans.

Ir-rapport li ħejjew l-Ombudsman, l-Awditur Ġenerali u l-Kummissarju Elettorali Ewlieni huwa dak l-eżerċizzju serju li talab il-Prim Ministru f’April 2013. Bla dubju huwa kontroversjali mhux ftit. Imma jekk irridu diskussjoni matura, dan ir-rapport ipoġġi quddiemna r-rejaltajiet li jeħtieġ illi niffaċċjaw. Huwa bażi tajba għal diskussjoni.

Hi ħasra li dan id-dibattitu ġie kontaminat.

Il-mistoqsija lil Joseph u lil Simon hi waħda: il-politika ġdida għal meta?

In-nuqqas ta’ serjeta: tal-Gvern u l-Opposizzjoni

honoraria campaign

 

Ir-reazzjonijiet tal-Gvern u l-Opposizzjoni għar-rapport  intitolat Recommended Remuneration for Holders of Political Office f’pajjiż demokratku huma tal-mistħija.

Il-Gvern permezz tal-Prim Ministru li ikkummissjona r-rapport qal li ma jaqbilx mas-salarji proposti. Lest jiddiskuti kollox, barra s-salarji.

L-Opposizzjoni min-naħa tagħha qed tagħmel żewġ kundizzjonijiet biex tiddiskuti r-rapport: li Joseph jammetti li l-kampanja li għamel kontra l-onorarja kienet waħda “ipokrita” u li qatt ma huma lesti li jaċċettaw żieda ta’ €1,000 fil-ġimgħa għall-Prim Ministru.

Dawn bis-serjeta’ jew?

Fl-opinjoni tiegħi l-parti tas-salarji fir-rapport tal-Ombudsman/Awditur Ġenerali/Kummissarju Elettorali Ewlieni hi l-inqas parti importanti tar-rapport.

Hi iktar importanti l-parti li titkellem dwar il-ħtieġa ta’ riforma tal-Parlament. Li l-Parlament ikun full-time u li l-ħinijiet tal-Parlament ikunu tali li ma jkunux skomdi għall-familji (family friendly).

Ir-rapport huwa meħtieġ li nħarsu lejħ bħala dokument sħiħ bid-diversi proposti tiegħu marbutin flimkien waħda ma l-oħra. Ma nistgħux niddiskutuh bil-biċċiet. Min jaqta’ min hawn u min jaqta’ min hemm.

Għandna bżonn ftit iktar serjeta. Neħtieġu diskussjoni matura. Imma wisq naħseb li ser nibqgħu nittewbu.

Salarju tal-Prim Ministru €94,000, daqs kemm kellu Austin Walker tal-MEPA ?

Austin Walker

 

L-Independent f’dawn il-ġranet żvela l-kontenut tar-rapport li l-Prim Ministru talab Kumitat magħmul mill-Ombudsman,l-Awditur Ġenerali u l-Kummissarju Elettorali Ewlieni dwar mekkaniżmu biex ikun stabilit il-ħlas li jirċievu l-politiċi (holders of political office).

Dan hu punt politiku li jirriżulta mill-polemika taż-żieda tal-€500 fil-ġimgħa li l-Kabinett immexxi minn Lawrence Gonzi ta’ lilu innifsu. Kien awto-goal li ħalla effetti negattivi mhux żgħar fuq il-Gvern immexxi mill-PN għax permezz ta’ dan il-pass idefinixxa lilu innifsu bħala Gvern insensittiv : għax fil-waqt li żied il-piż fuq iż-żgħir, fl-istess ħin ma iddejaqx jagħti lilu innifsu żidied sostanzjali.

L-Opposizzjoni dakinnhar għamlet dak li tagħmel kull Opposizzjoni: ħatfet l-opportunita’ li ngħatat lilha fuq platt. Kienet opportunita’ politika li għasritha u ħalbitha sa l-aħħar qatra possibli.

Għalhekk il-Gvern tal-lum qiegħed attent u qiegħed jipprova jiddistakka ruħu mill-proposti tal-Kumitat immexxi mill-Ombudsman Said Pullicino.

Ir-rapport tal-Kumitat immexxi mill-Ombudsman fih ħafna x’tiddiskuti.

Jiena u Arnold Cassola f’isem Alternattiva Demokratika iltqajna mal-Kumitat u iddiskutejna magħhom il-proposti li kienu qed jikkunsidraw. Huwa għalhekk ta’ sodisfazzjon għalina li l-Kumitat qabel ma waħda mill-proposti fil-programm elettorali ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika fl-aħħar elezzjoni ġenerali u għamilha tiegħu. Qed nirreferi għall-proposta li f’Malta l-Membri tal-Parlament ikunu full-timers.

Ir-rapport tal-Kumitat, li Alternattiva Demokratika ngħata kopja tiegħu madwar xahar ilu bil-kundizzjoni li żżommu kunfidenzjali, jemfasizza l-vantaġġi ta’ Membri Parlamentari li jiddedikaw il-ħin kollu tagħhom għall-ħidma Parlamentari tagħhom.

L-ikbar interess tal-gazzetti u l-aħbarijiet fuq l-istazzjonijiet tat-TV kienet ovvjament dwar is-salarji proposti.

Interessanti l-fatt li l-Kumitat qed jipproponi illi l-Prim Ministru jkollu salarju ta’ madwar €94,000. Għal min qed jaħseb li dan hu xi salarju fenomenali  tajjeb li tiftakru li Austin Walker Chairman tal-MEPA tħallas dan l-istess ammont kull sena  matul il-perjodu 2008-2013.

Diskussjoni interessanti avolja Joseph  Muscat qed jgħid li ma jaqbilx mar-rapport!

Parlament tad-dilettanti?

parlament

Il-Parlament hemm bżonn li jkun full-time.  Ma jistax ikun li nibqgħu b’Parlament tad-dilettanti. B’Membri Parlamentari li l-prijorita’ tagħhom hi l-professjoni jew ix-xogħol tagħhom.

Min għalih il-professjoni hi iktar importanti mill-Parlament jagħmel tajjeb li jiddedika l-ħin tiegħu jew tagħha għall-professjoni u jħalli s-siġġu tal-Parlament għal min hu lest li jagħti prijorita’ lill-ħidma Parlamentari.

Bħalissa għandna Parlament li fost il-Membri tiegħu għandu min il-prijorita’ tiegħu hi li  jara lill-klijenti fil-klinka jekk tabib, jew fl-uffiċċju jekk avukat jew Perit jew xi xogħol ieħor. Imbagħad, x’ħin ilesti, u  jekk ikunu baqa’ ħin imur il-Parlament.

Il-konsegwenza ta’ dan tidher fil-ħidma tal-Parlament, għax il-Parlament xogħolu m’hux jagħmlu, għax ħin biżżejjed x’jiddedika m’għandux.

Il-Parlament Malti hu l-uniku wieħed fl-Unjoni Ewropeja li ma kienx kapaċi jirreaġixxi fid-dettall meħtieġ  għal mijiet ta’ proposti ta’ liġi tal-Unjoni Ewropeja. Dan id-dritt li inkiseb bit-trattat ta’ Liżbona u li permezz tiegħu l-Parlamentari tal-Istati Membri jistgħu jinfluwenzaw u f’xi każi jwaqqfu leġislazzjoni Ewropeja għalina l-Maltin qiesu ma jeżistix għax il-Parlament Malti huwa wieħed tal-part-timers. Parlament tad-dilettanti.

Il-Prim Ministru Joseph Muscat waqqaf Bord  biex jagħtih proposti dwar kif għandhom ikunu imfassla s-salarji ta’ dawk li jokkupaw uffiċċju politiku. Din il-Kummissjoni li hi magħmula mill-Ombudsman, l-Awditur Ġenerali u l-Uffiċjal Elettorali Ewlieni, l-bieraħ t-Tlieta 15 t’Ottubru iltaqgħet ma’ Alternattiva Demokratika.

Jiena u Arnold Cassola tkellimna magħhom fit-tul u fissirnielhom il-proposti fil-programm elettorali ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika. L-ewwel fosthom li l-Parlament jeħtieġ li ikun wieħed ta’ full-timers u li l-Membri Parlamentari m’għandhom jagħmlu l-ebda xogħol ieħor għajr dak tal-Parlament.

Dan ifisser li m’għandhomx jinħatru fuq Bordijiet tal-Gvern, kif sar dan l-aħħar. Biex inkun preċiz mhux issa biss sar dan. Sar ukoll fi żmien Gvernijiet oħra. Imma issa sar fuq skala ikbar milli sar fi żminijiet oħra.

Ifisser ukoll li l-Membri Parlamentari jkollhom iktar ħin biex jagħmlu dak li suppost jagħmlu, jiġifieri li jiflu l-ħidma tal-Gvern.

F’Parlament tad-dilettanti l-Gvern jagħmel li jrid. F’Parlament fejn il-membri jkollhom il-ħin biex xogħolhom jagħmluh il-Gvern jimxi ħafna aħjar.

Dan hu l-Parlament li jixirqilna bħala pajjiż, mhux Parlament tad-dilettanti.

Ara ukoll l-istqarrija ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika li tinkludi l-proposti kollha sottomessi. Agħfas hawn.

Voting at the Hospitals and Retirement Homes: 5. Infringement of data protection legislation

mater_dei

As  AD Deputy Chairman together with Prof Arnold Cassola on Monday 17 December 2012 I had a meeting with the Chief Electoral Commissioner relative to the amendments to the General Elections Act as applicable to state hospitals and state run retirement homes.

AD is worried that the said amendments require that the administrators of state hospitals as well as state run old people’s homes to submit regular updated list of patients and residents to the political parties for the purposes of monitoring the electoral process.

This information being made available permits the political parties not only to know who has been admitted to state run hospitals and retirement homes on a daily basis for practically two whole two months, but also to indirectly know what particular condition or ailment patients in hospitals are suffering from.

In a democratic country which gives value to the right to privacy this is totally unacceptable.

In view of this AD has requested the Data Protection Commissioner to investigate the manner in which the electoral process will invade the privacy of patients in state hospitals and residents in retirement homes when the list of patients/residents is provided to the political parties. The Data Protection Commissioner was requested to provide remedies ensuring that the provisions of the Data Protection Act are observed.

Voting at the Hospitals and Retirement Homes: (1) Introduction

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On Monday morning together with Professor Arnold Cassola on behalf of Alternattiva Demokratika I had a meeting with the Chief Electoral Commissioner who was accompanied by the Commission’s Secretary. The point at issue were recent amendments to the General Elections Act (through Act XIV of 2012) which set out the framework for the running of general elections in retirement homes and Hospitals.

Retirement homes to which the amendments apply must have at least fifty resident voters and must be run by the state. This means that only one retirement home, St Vincent de Paul  Residence, is targeted. Ther retirement homes which though owned by the state are run by the private sector (Zejtun and Mellieħa homes) are excluded.

Likewise when it comes to the hospitals it will be the state hospitals which will be subject to the recent amendments. These are four in number, namely Mater Dei Hospital, Karen Grech Hospital, Mount Carmel Hospital and the Gozo General Hospital.

Twenty four hours after the publication of the writ establishing the date of the general elections the Electoral Commission shall form a sub-committee which shall be chaired by a Commissioner together with a representative of each of the political parties. Alternattiva Demokratika shall participate in this sub-committee and I shall be its representative.

In terms of these latest amendments to the General Elections Act the Electoral Commission shall delegate to the above-mentioned sub-committee the running of the general election  in retirement homes and hospitals.

to be continued : tomorrow (2) The draconian powers of the sub-committee

Franco’s Bill

published in The Times, Saturday July 7, 2012 under the title How to Regulate Party Funding

The Private Member’s Bill submitted for Parliament’s consideration by maverick MP Franco Debono is a step in the right direction. It seeks to lead Parliament to take the first concrete steps on regulating the financing of politics.

Having had the opportunity on behalf of Alternattiva Demokratika to take part in discussions with representatives of the parliamentary political parties and other interested persons, I consider that it would be appropriate to put on record AD’s views.

In the Bill, there are three fundamental issues that need to be reconsidered.

The first point is the proposed law’s enforcer. The Bill takes the cue from UK legislation and proposes the Electoral Commission as the enforcer. In considering this proposal at a local level, one has to note that the Electoral Commission is dominated by the parliamentary parties with one half of its members being nominated by the political party in government and the other half by the party in opposition. The Chief Electoral Commissioner is a public officer nominated by the government.

In practice, this means that nominees of the two political parties in Parliament will be entrusted to police the financing of the political system.

One has also to consider to what extent section 6 of the Public Administration Act, dealing with ministers’ instructions to public officers, would have a bearing on the new function added to the Electoral Commission’s duties.

AD feels that Malta can look towards its success stories – the office of the Ombudsman and the office of the Auditor General – which are functioning as officers of Parliament and report directly to the Speaker of the House of Representatives. Being elected subject to the support of two thirds of the members of the House means that both the Ombudsman and the Auditor General enjoy support across the political spectrum.

Hence, appointing a new officer of Parliament responsible for policing the financing of politics is, in AD’s view, a much better solution than assigning this responsibility to the Electoral Commission, which, unfortunately, is another tool of the two-party monopoly on the island.

The second point to be made is that the proposed Private Member’s Bill introduces an element of over-regulation of the political parties. Unfortunately, it also tries to transform political decisions that parties have to take from time to time into complex issues by establishing unnecessary detailed procedures.

AD considers that only two basic issues are to be considered necessary for the registration of political parties. These are the existence of a democratic party structure together with adherence to political principles compatible with a democratic society.

Additionally, administrative information coupled with updated information on party officials who would be responsible for carrying out the duties relative to the regulation of the financing of politics would, in AD’s view, be enough.

Other areas should be left as they are now in the hands of the political parties themselves. The third issue of fundamental importance is the lacuna which the Private Member’s Bill allows relative to anonymous donations.

It is submitted that anonymous donations should be forbidden. If this is not done political parties cannot be in a position to check and certify whether and to what extent the financial contributions by any individual adds up to the amount that must be reported.

The Bill rightly accepts confidentiality as to the identity of those donating small amounts. This is as it should be. But confidentiality should not be mixed up with anonymity as, otherwise, parties will not be in a position to auto-regulate the monies received.

There are a thousand and one opinions as to what the details of the Bill should be. There are those who think that the limits are too low or too high. These details are matters on which it should not be too difficult to find a solution.

During the discussions held at the parliamentary select committee last Monday, another very important point was made of relevance to local council and European elections.

It was pointed out that there have been a number of instances where candidates for such elections were openly supported by bodies that are not political parties. Residents’ associations, band clubs, football clubs and the hunting federation have on occasion presented candidates for these elections.

It was noted that this is an area that should be looked at in detail in order to avoid a situation where such associations collected or received funds for one purpose and then spend part of these funds for political purposes, that is for a purpose that was not intended by those who donated such funds.

The debate on regulating political financing has been going on for quite some time. It is about time that decisions are taken.