Watch: Robert Abela on Newsbook.com.mt

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

PL MP Robert Abela and leadership hopeful is answering questions fielded by Newsbook.com.mt and its readers live on Friday 27th December 2019 at 4pm. 

17:06 The interview ended.
Sylvana Debono
17:04 On Commissioner of Standards: I cannot accept the criticism that the government bought the silence of the backbenchers through appointments to other seats. Neither can I accept that this impinges on the independence of the MPs. I always criticised government and never felt conditioned.
Sylvana Debono
17:03 On parliamentary salary: It is too low but there is also a political calculation to be made. However, there definitely needs to be a discussion on roles and salaries.
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17:01 On his personal style: I will let the people decide but I work closely with the business community keeping the poor and vulnerable close to my heart.
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17:00 On HImself: I love the family and simplicity. My campaign is not a complex one. I did not want Muscat to leave.
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16:59 On Electrogas: I have no proof of corruption. I aim to become Prime Minister, not judge and jury. The NAO report excludes corruption. The judicial authorities should do their work.
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16:57 On IIP: This was very beneficial to our country and is heavily regulated. It brought great investment to the country. These are clean people not criminals and I will certainly keep it.
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16:55 On the massive vote of no confidence on Muscat in the European Parliament where the Socialists all voted against: I was disappointed at the PN position. But there was a certain amount of reputational damage in play too.
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16:52 On 'That Watch': I am not here to defend the PM but I would like to know if the acceptance was according to the Ministerial Code of Ethics. At the current point in time, I would not accept such gifts.
Sylvana Debono
16:50 On funds from big business: There is a distinction between the mass funding from the party faithful and the big donations by business or individuals scare me. No one gives anything for nothing. I do not exclude state financing. The PL is working to becoming self-sufficient.
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16:48 On recreational cannabis: I am quite liberal in this aspect but more discussion is required to see exactly what the proposed legislation would be aiming at. I distinguish between selling and using. The discussion needs to mature.
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16:45 On prostitution: The activity should no longer be a criminal act as prostitutes are often saddled with social issues. Neither should those who seek sexual services be penalised. This needs further discussion.
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16:45 On Abortion: 'Le' (No) Children are a joy.
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16:44 On Adrian Delia: Daphne alleged that Delia was laundering money from prostitution and can ask for an inquiry to be set up.
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16:42 On Daphne Caruana Galizia: She had the investigative aspect of her writing which was very good but then there was the level of personal attack which I could not agree with.
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16:41 On perjury: If it is established that Cardona perjured himself steps will have to be taken.
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16:38 On Chris Cardona and his brothel experience: Cardona defended his position as best as his lawyers saw fit. Delia too ceded a number of libel suits. I am not here to defend Cardona. My role will be to decide if that episode bars him from re-appointment to the cabinet. Cardona is also one of the strong performers.
Sylvana Debono
16:38 On institutions: These should be left to work on their own without interference.
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16:36 On the involvement of the opposition: The opposition needs to be involved in certain appointments, such as the appointment of the Commissioner of Police. This does not mean that the government will be ceding its powers
Sylvana Debono
16:34 On the composition of the Cabinet: Tourism Minister needs to be filled in immediately. No radical reshuffles are necessary and some ministers are performing very well. Some new persons may be given a chance. Stability takes priority over reshuffles.
Sylvana Debono
16:33 On Konrad Mizzi: He has no place in the cabinet in this legislature but the party has its own structures. He was never mentioned in relation to the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
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16:31 On Keith Schembri: I have reservations but he is certainly not the devil. I kept my distance from the investigations. Wrong was done but there is also a media spin. Atonement must be done by whoever did wrong.
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16:29 On the attack by the Chairman of the National Book Council: I take these comments in my stride. I am now a Leadership candidate and this decision was taken with a sense of responsibility and bravery for the benefit of the party and the country.
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16:27 on the 'Diabolical Pact': That was a matter which happened two weeks ago and I look ahead not backwards.
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16:26 On Trickle-Down Economy: Wealth must be created and this will always happen on the top rungs of society. Then it must be pushed down.
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16:24 On the spirit of capitalism in the current economic model: The departure in 2013 was from a weakened economy due to a number of factors. A lot was done for the least able in the economic structure.
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16:23 On equal pay for equal work: There are legal loopholes which need to be addressed and is disincentivising workers. It contributes to the pay gap and the wealthy become wealthier while the poor become poorer.
Sylvana Debono
16:21 On poverty statistics which show that the lowest earners have increased and the wealth gap: One of the priorities has to be to push down the wealth and decrease the income gap.
Sylvana Debono
16:18 On poverty among the aged: Poverty has decreased and in the 65+ age group, the quality of life has improved. On a single income, one cannot become rich but should be able to live decently.
Sylvana Debono
16:13 On social housing: Building on the current commitment, the need for social housing needs to be quadrupled. The proposal made is based on the refurbishment of already existing properties through a bond issue. No social housing will be absolutely free. No virgin land will be taken up for development.
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16:12 On free medicines to all pensioners: The proposal has been costed to Eur35-40 million per annum and can be carried at the rate the economy is growing.
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16:11 On the current situation: We will come out of this and the changes need not be drastic. The next step will be the implementation of the electoral manifesto.
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16:09 Why he should be the chosen one: Abela said that he had an overview of what was happening in the ministries and his message is being sent to the electors.
"I can contribute best by contesting the leadership," said Abela, adding that the country needs a person with a legal mind.
Sylvana Debono
15:58 And they're off…Catch up on it tomorrow on 103FM if you miss it live today
Sylvana Debono
15:37 Dr Robert Abela has arrived at 103 studios and was greeted by Fr Joe Borg who will be conducting the interview.
Sylvana Debono

The man aspiring to be Prime Minister, if elected by the party rank and file, is interviewed by Fr Joe Borg on a special one-on-one programme streamed live on Newsbook.com.mt.


The portal had a very substantial response to the request for public participation in this democratic contribution. The question will cover a variety of subjects from good governance and the rule of law to other important subject listed in the political programme proposed by Dr Abela.


Last Friday Newsbook.com.mt hosted the other PL leadership hopeful, Dr Robert Abela next week.

The full interview will also be broadcast on 103 Malta’s Heart on Saturday at 9.00am.