KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's benchmark stock index hit a record high on Tuesday, driven by gains in state power firm Tenaga Nasional Bhd after the government said it would raise electricity tariff next year.
The index, which was up 0.44 percent at 1,826.24 at 0155 GMT, outperformed MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan that dropped 0.55 percent and Tokyo's Nikkei share average that climbed 0.36 percent.
The benchmark stock index touched a record high of 1,840.12 earlier in the session.
Shares of Tenaga rose 13.25 percent after Malaysia's Energy Minister, Maximus Ongkili, said on Monday electricity rates across the country, with the exception of eastern state Sarawak, would rise by 15 percent on average effective Jan. 1.
"Our local bourse is expected to challenge the immediate resistance level of 1,825, from local developments as well as unexpectedly positive manufacturing data in the United States," HwangDBS Vickers Research said in a research note to clients on Tuesday.
The power rate increase comes as the government is under pressure to rein in spending and boost tax collection to tackle Malaysia's high budget deficit and fast-growing debt pile.
The government also announced in October a new consumption tax that will come into force in 2015.
The local currency ringgit strengthened to stand at 3.21 ringgit against the greenback.
The country is scheduled to announce its October external trade data on Friday.