As the race towards the finish line draws closer and closer, Insite Malta has contacted all party leaders to answer some questions with regards to their proposals in relation to students and youths. The first interview is with Professor Arnold Cassola, leader of the Alternattiva Demokratika (AD). Take a look at what he has to say.
1. As promised before the last General election, Joseph Muscat gave stipend to students repeating a year of their studies. However, those who change course are not eligible for stipend. What’s your stand on this?
I believe they should also be eligible.
2. Environmental awareness is of utmost importance to you and your party. What initiatives do you intend to take at university in order to promote it?
Intensive waste separation in all parts of campus. Start changing older buildings into energy efficient ones through installation of photovoltaic plants as well as recycling of used water. Increase reserved parking for bicycles. Finally, the excessive presence of cars on campus should be addressed.
3. In your opinion, are there any brilliant proposals in the other parties’ manifestos? If so, which ones? Do you intend to implement them yourself if elected?
Unfortunately, so many promises have not been kept by PN and PL every election. I can only vouch for what we at AD pledge to implement. You can see our manifesto by clicking here.
4. In Malta, in the past most people had the mentality of being diehard fans of either of the larger parties, and there was no way they could possibly change sides. Do you think this is still the case? Do you think the younger generations are different? What proposals do you have that would motivate student floaters to vote for you?
No, it is not the case. Many in the younger generations are certainly different. The fact that we respect youngsters as thinking and critical people who can analyse issues autonomously and not as blindfolded party diehards is already enough for them to vote for Alternattiva Demokratika.
5. During the General Election Debate at University you expressed that you wanted to change the Electoral system for KSU. Could you elaborate further on this? What kind of system do you think should be implemented?
A proportional representation instead of the present first past the post system. Therefore if 50% vote for Student Group A, 30% for Student Group B and 20% for Student Group C, the positions on the KSU should reflect this proportion.
6. Parking on campus has always been an issue. Students have to either get to university early in order to find parking or else use public transport. The bus system leaves much to be desired, with most students having to catch two busses to get to University. Moreover, the roads are considered too dangerous to drive a bike in. Is there a better way by which one can get to university? What solutions do you offer?
In the first place there should be easier access to public transport from and to University. More frequent buses to University/Mater Dei from the different parts of Malta, cheaper bus passes for students to encourage the use of public transport, cheap ferry service seasonal tickets from Gozo to central Malta on fast ferry, as well as from Cottonera - not only to Sliema but also to Msida, from where students could walk to University. More bicycle racks and showers at University. Finally, more incentives for car pooling.
Disclaimer: All other party leaders where contacted for an interview in the past few weeks. Insite is still awaiting for their replies.