UPDATE – Abortion law amendments amongst issues dealt by political leaders – Malta News Briefing – Sunday 15 January 2023

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Update 1330h

PM open to mechanism to prevent abuse in abuse legal amendments

Prime Minister Robert Abela said he is open to consider introducing a mechanism to prevent abusing a legal amendment that will allow for abortions under strict circumstances. He emphasised that the proposed amendment, which would allow for the termination of pregnancies in cases where the mother’s life or health are in grave danger, is not a covert attempt to legalise abortion, but rather an effort to provide support for families who have been affected by difficult and tragic situations. Abela urged the public not to be swayed by fear-mongering and misinformation being spread by the opposition. (MaltaToday) The Prime Minister also spoke about the cost-of-living. Abela warned businesses against taking advantage of the global economic situation to artificially gouge prices and place a further unnecessary burden on consumers. He noted that shipping costs, particularly from China, had risen steeply for a time. But, he said, they were now practically back to their former level. But local consumer prices, had not necessarily gone down. The government, he had, had worked well with businesses and they had kept the economy going strong in difficult times. But he wanted to warn some within the business sector against taking a short-term view and seeking to take advantage of the global crisis of war and inflation to artificially increase prices.  (Times of Malta)

The fight in favour of life has no political colour – Grech

The fight in favour of life has no political colour, Opposition Leader Bernard Grech said while addressing a public meeting on Sunday about the government’s bill to amend the country’s abortion laws. Grech, addressing the crowd, said that the fight in favour of life has “no age, no orientation, no social class.” The foetus inside a mother’s womb “is a life, just like every other life who was born,” he said. The activity was held as parliament debates a bill which will allow medical procedures that could terminate pregnancies when a mother’s life or health are in serious danger.  “It is a big mistake to stay silent because of being scared,” he said.“If you are scared to defend life, what are you ready to defend?” (Malta Independent / Times of Malta)

Morning Briefing

Elderly man dies in Marsa traffic accident

A 79-year-old resident of Marsa died after he was hit by a car in Marsa on Saturday evening. The accident happened at 7pm on the Marsa-Ħamrun Bypass, when the pedestrian was hit by a Kia Sorento driven by a 24-year-old man resident in Birzebbuga.  Newsbook reports that the victim was identified as Pawlu D’Amato, better known as iċ-Ċeċe.

Government braced for Steward fall-out over penalty and fraud re Steward Healthcare deal

Maltatoday reports that the Maltese government is bracing itself for the court judgement that could spell out an unprecedented €100 million penalty in favour of the American healthcare giant Steward, should the controversial hospitals privatisation deal be rescinded. According to the report ‘there is trepidation at the top echelons of Robert Abela’s administration, as the outcome of a court case filed by the Nationalist MP Adrian Delia for the rescission of the former Vitals hospitals privatisation could open up the government to a new €100 million penalty, but even something more controversial: a criminal investigation into the alleged corruption surrounding the VGH deal, touching upon the former Muscat administration.’

President calls of Australia visit amid abortion debate controversy

The Sunday Times reports that President George Vella has called off a scheduled trip to Australia in February, indicating he intends to be in Malta when the abortion amendment goes through parliament.

Catering outlets cannot charge 10c deposit fee and keep beverage containers  – MCCAA

Catering outlets that charge the 10 cent deposit fee but keep beverage containers are in breach of regulations, the Malta Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (MCCAA) told The Malta Independent on Sunday.

Ombudsman decries disrespect as parliament ignores all his reports

The Sunday Times reports that the outgoing Ombudsman Anthony Mifsud has called for changes to the law to stop parliament’s “lack of respect” towards his office, after it ignored all the 35 investigations he tabled in the last three years. Mifsud was reported saying that unless there is a statutory obligation requiring select committees of the House to consider these final opinions, no progress will be made.

Malta’s neutrality should not stop Malta from condemning Russia’s actions – Foreign Minister Borg

Malta’s neutrality should not stop the country from condemning Russia’s actions, Foreign Affairs Minister Ian Borg told The Malta Independent on Sunday. Russia, he said, decided to invade Ukraine without any provocation when the world was emerging from the Covid-19 pandemic and the war has resulted in a humanitarian crisis. There are a number of challenges, he said, identifying the war in Ukraine as the main issue. “Nobody thought they would again see war in the heart of Europe”, said Borg.

Two-thirds of Maltese happy with cost of living support

Roughly two-thirds of the Maltese told an EU survey that they are satisfied with the measures implemented so far by the Government to tackle the cost of living, including prices of food and energy; whereas 52% of the Maltese are satisfied with the action taken by the European Union. The European Parliament’s Eurobarometer for autumn shows that 56% of the Maltese are living comfortably with their present income. This despite the fact that 96% consider the cost of living as one of the challenges for the future within the European Union. (TVM)

ADPD say energy subsidies should not be for everyone

The Green Party has argued that the energy subsidies that amount to €1.5 million daily were unsustainable and that those that afford high prices should not receive any aid. In a presser near Castille, ADPD’s Sec-Gen Ralph Cassar said that government’s policy to grant a subsidy over electricity charges to all was not sustainable, and that it encouraged waste and failed to promote the use of sustainable alternatives. “While it is prudent – indeed necessary – to assist those with low and medium incomes in connection with the basic consumption needed, this aid should not be granted to those who can afford the prices closer to the actual prices it is costing the country,” Cassar argued. (Maltatoday)

Man denied bail on 2021 Marsa murder

A 27-year-old man has been denied bail over a 2021 murder. Ghanaian national, Amo Frank Kwaku, stands accused of murdering 23-year-old Isaac Kwabena Kyere, after he allegedly stabbed him to death on Triq it-Tiġrija in Marsa. He is pleading not guilty to the charges. (Newsbook)

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