HEADING the list of companies affected in some ways – good or bad – by Budget 2019 are those operating in the gaming, toll highway and construction industries.
For the gaming industry, taxes, fees and levies have not been raised since 2005. The only listed company with a casino licence in Malaysia is Genting Bhd. Shares in Genting fell 2.7% or 20 sen to RM7.20 after the announcement by the government yesterday.
On the toll highways, the government will freeze toll hikes on all intra-city tolls around the country for 2019, which will cost the government approximately RM700mil.
The government will also abolish toll for motorcycles for the first and second Penang Bridges, as well as the Second Link in Johor, costing approximately RM20mil per year effective Jan 1 next year.
This would likely impact UEM Group Bhd, which is one of the shareholders of highway operator PLUS Malaysia Bhd,
Meanwhile, Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB) appears to see some headway with regards to its highway in Johor.
In the budget announcement, Finance Minister Lim said that the government had already allocated RM1.3bil as compensation for the acquisition of the Eastern Dispersal Link in Johor as announced last year, and it was still in the budget for this year.
The Eastern Dispersal Link is owned by MRCB which has been in negotiations to dispose the highway to the government for more than a year now.
Although the government has scrapped and reduced the size of several mega rail projects, under Budget 2019, it will allocate RM2.46bil for upgrading and restoration works for railway tracks.
To spur trading activities, the government intends to convert 380 acres of land in Pulau Indah into a Free Trade Zone (FTZ) to support and catalyse increased shipping and logistics activities in Port Klang.
Among the companies expected to benefit are Sime Darby Properties Bhd and MMC Corp Bhd.
Lim said the new FTZ will serve as a natural extension to the Port Klang Free Zone.
“The land will be developed through a joint venture or solely by the private sector,” he said.
It has been reported that Sime Property, the largest landowner in Carey Island, which is located next to Pulau Indah, has proposed to build the third port development in Selangor.
In April last year, MMC Corp Bhd’s unit MMC Port Holdings Sdn Bhd, and Sime Darby Property, signed a memorandum of understanding with India’s largest private port operator, Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd, to study the feasibility of the developments on Carey Island.
At the moment, Carey Island is a home to oil palm plantations owned by Sime Darby Plantation Bhd.