Following a strong opposition by the Nationalist Party the Maltese government has delayed the implementation the controversial cash-for-citizenship scheme that would allow high-net-worth individuals to buy a Maltese passport for €650,000 (£546,000).

The Nationalist Party has opposed the scheme arguing that it lacked transparency and is not linked to residence or investment.

One of the more controversial elements of the law was the fact that applicant’s identities would not be publicly disclosed.

The opposition party argued that keeping the names secret might expose Malta to ill-intentioned citizenship-seekers, including terrorists. The opposition also asked whether or not the government would issue secret passports before the law is changed.

However Malta’s president, George Abela said that the government has agreed to publish the names of those buying citizenships.

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil said no consensus can be reached unless the government drops outright sale from the equation.

"I can assure that there will be no secret passport. There will be no abuse of this gap period," Deputy Prime Minister Louis Grech said.