Scrapping of rail projects triggers crisis, Malaysian shares sink to record lows

Nation’s benchmark stock gauge now down more than 9% from peak, performing at its worst since 2008.

Gamuda leads builders selloff as nation scraps rail projects.

It was a pretty bad day for Asian stock markets. For Malaysia, it was even worse.

The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index plunged as much as 3.7 percent, with losses snowballing after the midday break. The gauge ended the session 3.2 percent lower, its biggest single-day slump since October 2008, with declines surpassing those of all other national benchmarks in the region. Malaysian markets were shut on Tuesday for a holiday.

Builders suffered the brunt of the selling as Gamuda Bhd. sank as much as 27 percent after Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said the government would cancel a proposed multibillion-dollar, High-Speed Rail link to Singapore and the third phase of a mass rapid transit line in Kuala Lumpur. Banks also suffered, with Malayan Banking Bhd. down 4.3 percent amid a sector selloff.

The Malaysian index, which only last month traded at a record, is now down more than 9 percent from its peak as traders adjust to a new political environment. Foreign investors have fled the nation’s stocks, pulling money every single day this month — a streak unseen since the selloff of August 2015.

Source: Bloomberg