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Malaysian stocks post strongest gain in 2.5 years, ringgit surges as investors welcome appointment of PM Anwar

SINGAPORE — The Malaysian ringgit surged and the main Kuala Lumpur stock index posted its largest gain in more than two-and-a-half years after Mr Anwar Ibrahim was sworn in on Thursday (Nov 24) as the country's 10th prime minister.

SINGAPORE — The Malaysian ringgit surged and the main Kuala Lumpur stock index posted its largest gain in more than two-and-a-half years after Mr Anwar Ibrahim was sworn in on Thursday (Nov 24) as the country's 10th prime minister.

The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index jumped just over 4 per cent to close at 1,501.88 points in its strongest single-day increase since March 2020, Bloomberg reported.

The ringgit gained about 1.1 per cent in value against the Singapore dollar, which was buying about RM3.27 at the end of Thursday, down from about RM3.32 at the start of the day.

The Edge business newspaper quoted Malaysia University of Science and Technology professor and economist Dr Geoffrey Williams as saying that Mr Anwar's appointment addressed the uncertainty that had prevailed since the Nov 19 elections and settled markets.

He believed Mr Anwar, who is well-known internationally with very strong knowledge of economics, would focus on reforms that will be attractive to investors.

“After this, we will look for long-term, credible economic policy, which Anwar and his team will provide. His immediate challenge is to make a credible budget focused on protecting growth for next year and keeping inflation low,” he said.

Mr Anwar was deputy prime minister and finance minister at the time of the Asian financial crisis in 1997 and 1998 when some currencies in South-east Asia suffered precipitous falls after Thailand unpegged the baht from the United States dollar.

Mr Anwar won praise for his handling of the crisis, but it led to a falling out with then-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. Soon after, Mr Anwar was arrested and later jailed over alleged sodomy and corruption.

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Malaysia Anwar Ibrahim stock market

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