KUALA LUMPUR: Should a surge in Covid-19 cases happen again, the present government should consider implementing a short and strict "circuit-breaker" to break the chain of infections, says Datuk Seri Najib Razak (BN-Pekan).
The former prime minister said the country could no longer afford to enforce a total lockdown similar to the second movement control order (MCO) in January and the lockdown in May as businesses were still reeling from financial repercussions of not being able to operate.
"Lockdowns are not a solution. The previous lockdown that began on May 12 was for a long period. How are businesses supposed to survive," he asked.
"If hospital occupancy rates go above 85% for any state, I suggest we implement a strict and short circuit-breaker of five to seven days with a guarantee that it will not be extended.
"It should not be enforced for months but we must also keep Covid-19 under control," he said during his speech in Parliament on the Royal Address on Wednesday (Sept 15).
Covid-19 cases had surged to a high of over 20,000 cases a day in August. As of Tuesday (Sept 14), new cases have decreased to 16,073.
Meanwhile, Najib said the government must take more innovative measures to face the new normal to ensure economic recovery.
"We need to implement visions that are relevant and speed up infrastructure projects so Malaysians can have an opportunity to earn a higher income.
Najib also proposed the introduction of a Covid-19 recovery tax on windfall profits and luxury condominium development and to raise personal tax for those in the higher income group.
He also proposed the introduction of new taxes on giant tech companies such as Netflix, Amazon, YouTube and Facebook.
"The earnings of these companies were never taxed. This is tax on the company, not on its users.
"This isn't something new as it has been done by Australia and Indonesia who were paid by these companies after making demands. Malaysia should do the same."
Najib also proposed for unvaccinated foreign workers to be given a four-month grace period to be inoculated.
"If they aren't vaccinated, they must be sent back and action must be taken against their employers, including mandatory prison time," he said.