Putrajaya’s decision to cut special draws to eight per year weighs on NFO shares

(The Edge filepix by Shahrill Basri)

(The Edge filepix by Shahrill Basri)

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KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 5): The share prices of number forecast operators (NFOs) suffered another bout of politically-induced decline on Monday  (Dec 5), after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s announcement that from Jan 1, only eight special draws will be allowed per year.

At the closing bell of Monday’s trading session, Magnum Bhd’s share price plummeted seven sen or 5.15% to end at RM1.29, matching its one-year low, after 6.2 million shares changed hands. Meanwhile, its peer Sports Toto Bhd ended down seven sen or 4.19% at a one-year low of RM1.60 with 2.95 million shares traded.

At RM1.29, Magnum is valued at RM1.85 billion, while Sports Toto’s share price of RM1.60 gives the company a market capitalisation of RM2.16 billion. Year-to-date, Magnum’s share price has declined 32.11%, while Sports Toto had fallen by 15.09%.

After a special Cabinet meeting on Monday, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim told the press that the number of special draws by NFOs will be reverted to just eight per year, from the present 22, as part of the government’s move to carry out its duties transparently without heavily relying on what he dubbed as wang haram (illicit or illegal money).

“If there is any tendency to collect wang haram, we will take necessary steps. For example, as long as I am the finance minister, I can cancel a decision made earlier this year on special draws by gaming companies, which was decided by a Cabinet with participation of Bersatu and Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS), whereby they had decided to increase the number of special draws from eight times to 22 times,” Anwar said.

“Today (Monday), I have instructed that the number of special draws be maintained at the previous level, which is eight times. This means starting from Jan 1, 2023, special draws by gaming companies, which were accepted by the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government for 22 times, will be reduced to eight times,” he added.

Just two weeks prior, when the name of Malaysia’s next prime minister was still anyone’s guess and the formation of the government was at an impasse, Magnum and Sports Toto’s shares nose-dived to a one-year low of RM1.29 on Nov 21, and a former one year-low of RM1.61 on Nov 23 respectively.

This followed the inconclusive result of the 15th general election (GE15), resulting in a hung Parliament for the first time in Malaysia’s history, leaving Pakatan Harapan (PH) and PN to scramble for enough support to form a government. 

Investors succumbed to heavy selling of NFOs, as well as other sin stocks, as the prospect of a PN-led government — more particularly, a government where PAS would be a major component — remained a possibility.

However, when this possibility was quelled after the four-day-long impasse was resolved with PH’s Anwar being named Malaysia’s 10th prime minister on Nov 24, the share prices of Magnum and Sports Toto recouped some losses, rising to RM1.41 and RM1.70 respectively.

Read also:
Anwar: NFO special draws reverted from 22 times to eight times in 2023

Lam Jian Wyn