Most Southeast Asian markets climbed on Monday with Malaysia ending higher as trading resumed after the stunning defeat of a coalition that ruled the country for over six decades, while Vietnam rose more than 2 percent led by real estate stocks.
Malaysia's newly elected administration, led by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, had promised to scrap toll fees, reinstate fuel subsidies and raise minimum wages, and most importantly, to abolish the deeply unpopular goods and service tax within its first 100 days.
"The repeal of GST, while only marginally negative for the fiscal deficit, will be a boon for consumers, who have been upset that they bear the burden of poor fiscal management and came out to vote against the establishment," said Trinh Nguyen, senior economist at Natixis.
Consumer stocks gained, with Genting Bhd and Nestle each ending over 4 percent higher, while the index firmed up 0.2 percent in its heaviest day of trading since late November 2017.
The biggest losers on the main board were AirAsia Group Bhd and CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, down over 5 percent each. Air Asia Chief, Tony Fernandes, on Monday apologised for endorsing former Prime Minister Najib Razak in the election.
Mahathir announced three top cabinet posts on Saturday, including Lim Guan Eng, a former banker and chartered accountant, as finance minister.
"This is expected to underscore market confidence given Lim, a trained accountant, has a track record boosting Penang's economy with investor-friendly policies," Mizuho Bank analysts said in a note.
In other markets, Indonesia slipped 0.2 percent on worries over continued capital outflows from Southeast Asia's biggest economy. Officials on Friday tried to calm investors concerned over a weak domestic currency.
Vietnam stocks rose 2.1 percent, their biggest intraday gain in one week. Real estate stocks buoyed the market, with Vingroup Joint Stock Co ending 6.5 percent higher.
Philippines was closed for a public holiday.