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Islamic party wins in Malaysia lead to alcohol, gambling stocks plunge

Bloomberg
Bloomberg11/21/2022 02:42 PM GMT+08  • 2 min read
Islamic party wins in Malaysia lead to alcohol, gambling stocks plunge
Stocks related to gaming and alcohol slumped in Malaysia after an Islamic party garnered the most seats at the country’s elections on Saturday. Photo: Bloomberg
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Stocks related to gaming and alcohol slumped in Malaysia after an Islamic party garnered the most seats at the country’s elections on Saturday, paving the way for an alliance it’s a part of to form the next government.

Shares of casino and resort operator Genting Malaysia Bhd. plunged as much as 11%, the most in more than two years, amid a broader selloff in the country’s equities. Its parent Genting Bhd. dropped as much as 10% while lottery equipment provider Sports Toto Bhd. was set for its lowest level since 1993. Brewers including Heineken Malaysia Bhd. and Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd. also declined.

The electorate gains by Parti Islam Se-Malaysia, or PAS, could dent investor confidence as the party has previously called for the implementation of hardline Shariah law in the country. The party, which won 49 of the 220 parliamentary seats, is part of former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin-led Perikatan Nasional alliance which is jostling with veteran opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s multi-ethnic Pakatan Harapan to form the government.

PAS being the largest party means “they will be controlling a lot of policy generation and policy output of the new government” if they were to be part of it, Oh Ei Sun, senior fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, said on Bloomberg Television.

“An Islamist-led government will typically try to make the previously functioning democracy into an illiberal one, which would be very challenging for Malaysia,” he added.

See also: Anwar vows gradual debt reduction to ensure stability

The benchmark KLCI Index fell as much as 1.5% amid a wider slump in the region while the ringgit was 0.2% lower against the dollar.

Analysts expect more scrutiny on sin companies if the bloc led by Muhyiddin takes power given PAS’ previous crackdowns on beer festivals and gambling.

“The strong electoral performance by the PN coalition was a surprise and we expect regulatory risks to spike higher especially for the gaming, brewery and tobacco sectors,” RHB Bank analyst Alexander Chia wrote in a note.

Malaysia saw its first-ever hung parliament in Saturday’s election after none of the three major coalitions won enough seats to form a majority. Muhyiddin and rival Anwar are locked in a battle to secure enough votes to form a government. They have until 2 pm Tuesday to firm up alliances and put forward a choice for prime minister.

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