After nine years, Muscat needs a new car

Published: June 6, 2017 at 11:32am

Muscat announced this morning that he will donate his Alfa car to the Labour Party so that the party can auction it to raise funds.

He said that after he received all that criticism for using his own car as head of government and taking money for doing so, he will now begin using a government car instead.

And some people are lapping it up. Have reasoning skills collapsed totally, or is it just sycophancy?

Muscat’s self-serving materialism and hypocrisy are outrageous. He has been using that car for nine years, since he became Opposition leader. And for all those years, he has been paid out of public funds as compensation for using his own car instead of the ‘state’ car to which both Opposition leader and Prime Minister are entitled.

It wasn’t because he preferred his own car, but because he preferred the money. Nine years x €7,500 (the amount he receives every year for using his own car) is €67,500. Muscat has got what he paid for that car originally, and more above it. Now that it has reached the point where it has got to be replaced because it is so old and its resale value is next to nothing, he is faced with a choice between two options.

1. Buy another car of his own using his personal funds (sizeable capital outlay) and carry on receiving €7,500 a year for using it.

2. Do what he should have done in the first place and use a government car without taking an allowance, while getting some PR from dumping the old car on the Labour Party as a heroic and generous act.

He went for ‘2’, quite obviously, because it makes more personal financial sense not to use €70,000 of his own capital to buy a car. Besides, it wouldn’t look too great given that he has declared €74,000 to parliament.

When he became Opposition leader in 2008, he had that car already, so the decision to take the €7,500 allowance was the one which made personal financial sense (with disregard for all other considerations).