Starting a profitable business in Malaysia as a foreigner

Starting a profitable business in Malaysia as a foreigner

Do you want to start out a business in Malaysia as a foreigner? If yes, here may be a comprehensive guide plus the legal requirements to start out a profitable business in Malaysia with no money.

Okay, having provided an in-depth analysis of Malaysia’s Top 50 Small Business Opportunities and a variety of industry-specific sample business plan templates; Now we’ll analyze intimately the legal requirements, the viability of the market and everything that’s needed to start out a business in Malaysia. So place on your entrepreneur hat and let’s proceed.

Why start a business in Malaysia?

Malaysia is rapidly gaining ground together of the favorite investment destinations to try to business with. Ranked 24th within the 2018 International Bank for Reconstruction and Development simple Doing Business, Malaysia is favorable ground for investors looking to enter the market.

Whether you reside in Malaysia or are a foreigner meaning to migrate to Malaysia to require advantage of the rich business opportunities, we offer you a step-by-step procedure on how you’ll establish a business entity in this pristine country. beaches and tourist paradise.

Starting a Profitable Business in Malaysia as a Foreigner: an entire Guide

Determine if you’ll establish a business within the industry
The first step to require once you shall start a business in Malaysia if you’re overseas is to first determine if you’ll be allowed to start out a business therein sector. While Malaysia has liberalized restrictions on foreign participation in many sectors over the past decade, certain specific industries are still limited or protected thanks to national policy reasons.

Starting a profitable business in Malaysia as a foreigner

Examples of industries involving specific licenses and conditions include oil and gas services, warehousing and freight, ground transportation services, wholesale and retail trade, tour operators, f / b restaurants/cafes, franchises, Check company registration Malaysia by SSM Online etc. These areas are generally restricted to a non-citizen. it’s important to work out early whether your commercial activity in Malaysia is subject to:

Any specific license or condition,
Any restrictions on the ownership of foreign capital,
Any minimum requirement of paid capital, or
Any requirements for directors of Bumiputera (ie Malaysian) or locally owned.

The above isn’t exhaustive and should not always be easy to work out, as one business may require multiple licenses and approvals. you ought to do your research properly during this area so as to plan your corporate structure, capital and also offer you a sensible timeframe on your actual business start date.

Decide the sort of business

There are several sorts of business entities available in Malaysia. Each business entity has its own compliance requirements, tax structure, etc. There also are commercial entities that are intended for citizens and foreigners.

To. If you’re an area entrepreneur: you’ll prefer to register your company as a sole proprietor or indebtedness company (llp), or general partnership and company as these are the common business entities available in Malaysia.

A sole proprietorship/company – this is often the simplest and cheapest thanks to establishing a business in Malaysia and is owned and operated by one person, with no legal distinction between the owner and therefore the business. this suggests that you simply are subject to owner’s tax, instead of corporation tax. however, there’s almost no protection for the business owner, so it’s advisable to include an LLC.

Yes. If you’re a far off entrepreneur: There are two common business entities for foreign investors: a locally incorporated company or a foreign-owned company. Foreign investors can establish a sole proprietorship or partnerships in Malaysia on the condition that they need permanent residence (“pr”) in Malaysia.

In addition to the choices mentioned, foreign investors also can prefer to register their business as a personal Ltd. a Labuan company or a representative office. International companies within the manufacturing or service sector are generally ready to do business in Malaysia without restrictions because the government wants to encourage export growth, knowledge transfer and job creation during this sector.

A private limited company: Foreigners can register a Senseian Berhan in Malaysia with 100% foreign ownership, counting on the business. this is often the local equivalent of a personal Ltd. or LLC, and it’s the foremost common vehicle for investing within the country.
100% foreign ownership is allowed for companies in most industries, and therefore the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) maintains an in-depth list of companies hospitable foreign investment in Malaysia.

Starting a profitable business in Malaysia as a foreigner

One law regarding this business entity is that two of the administrators of the corporate must be permanent residents of Malaysia, and a personal Ltd. must have between two and 50 members. the corporate must even have a minimum of two shareholders.

You can register as a personal Ltd. through the Business Commission of Malaysia (SSM).

A Labuan company: Labuan is emerging as an offshore regional hub with a coffee tax jurisdiction. Labuan companies can rent properties in Malaysia but aren’t allowed to sell domestically, in order that they aren’t suitable for international businesses hoping to sell to Malaysian clients.
However, fixing a Labuan business is beneficial for entrepreneurs fixing financial services, distribution, or international trade business. A Labuan company is additionally useful for regional distribution companies, as imports and exports to and from Labuan are duty-free.

Foreigners can own 100% of the business and incorporation is quick and affordable. Expats can apply for a two-year multiple entry employment pass as soon because the company has been incorporated. you’ll register as a Labuan company through the Labuan International Business and center (IBFC).

Name your business: Having established the business entity that might be best fitted to the business you’ve got in mind, you want to now find a reputation for your business. Every business needs a reputation. an honest business is quite just a brand, it’s also a part of your marketing strategy and brand identity.

Run a reputation check after you’ve got selected the business name. then you want to complete the name form availability request and send it to suruhanjaya syarikat malaysia (“ssm”), and you want to pay a fee of rm30.00 for every name requested. After the name verification, please register the name with SSM to urge approval of company formation in Malaysia.

Open a checking account: Opening a private or company checking account locally (and preferably on the brink of the intended business premise) is one among the primary things to try to to to form payments, share issuance, deposits, and costs that generally require local currency.

Starting a profitable business in Malaysia as a foreigner

It will be prudent to see with local or international banks beforehand for the precise documentation, requirements, and time needed to open a checking account, taking under consideration anti-money laundering compliance controls and “know your customer” requirements that each one bank must comply with before approving the new checking account service.

Secure a business premises: Whether within the sort of a rented or purchased premises, virtual office, service office or maybe a permanent residential address, a physical premise or a postal address within Malaysia is usually required in other checking account applications, company formation, licenses and permits work, etc.

Foreigners may consider signing up for virtual offices or renting service offices or co-working spaces, which are often located in prestigious business locations, for a fast and affordable ‘temporary business address‘ before committing to a long-term lease or purchase of properties.

Please note that some corporate secretarial service providers may provide the utilization of your existing address as a short-lived registered or address.

Enter your office address: In Malaysia, all companies must have a legally registered local office address. Once you’ve got chosen a location for your business, you want to proceed to register it. Without doing this, your business registration process wouldn’t be complete.

Obtain immigration permits and visas (if you’re a foreigner):

While there’s a good sort of possibilities for foreigners to enter and stay in Malaysia, differing types of labor permits and visas may apply counting on the sort of activity to be administered and therefore the length of stay in Malaysia. Examples include:

Visitor (single entry or multiple entry visas),
Spouse (long-term spouse visa / social visit pass),
Migration (under Malaysia my second home program),
Employee (types of job passes may vary supported skill set and salary),
Short-term contracts and commitments (professional visit pass),
A shareholder or director of a newly incorporated company (work permit),
Or when a regional office / representative office is established where a corporation has already been established within the home company (work permit).

Starting a profitable business in Malaysia as a foreigner

The specific requirements and procedures for obtaining the right work permits or visa are often confusing for several foreigners, to not mention the particular filings and communications with the immigration department. Different work permits can also have different requirements regarding the minimum paid share capital of the applicant company.

It would even be knowing anticipate the amount of labor permits / visas the corporate would require if you plan to rent expats as employees. Certain government incentives should be considered, like obtaining multimedia super broker (MSC) status, which may make it easier for the corporate to recruit foreign / expats.

Prepare the incorporation documents

When you’ve found out your office address and visas, subsequent step is to start out gathering your incorporation papers. Please note that each one of those documents must be ready before you’ll consider proceeding with onboarding. the documents you would like for this purpose include;

Memorandum and article of association / constitution
Statutory declaration of a director or promoter before appointment
Declaration of conformity
Ssm name approval letter (one copy).
Identity document of every director and secretary of the corporate (one copy each).

Incorporate your company

You must submit the incorporation documents to ssm within three months from the date of approval of the corporate name by ssm. you’ll got to request a replacement name search if you are doing not submit your incorporation papers to SMM within 3 months.

Starting a profitable business in Malaysia as a foreigner

The Malaysian Business Commission (SSM) is workplace for incorporating companies and registering business in Malaysia. To register your company, you’ll got to follow these steps.

A name search should be performed to work out if your proposed business name is out there for registration. the name must be an equivalent because the one registered within the country of origin of your company. To request the name lookup, you’ll got to submit a completed ca form 13a (name availability request) to ssm, and pay a fee of rm30 for every name applied.

After you’ve got received approval for your business name, you’ve got three months to submit the subsequent registration documents.

A certified copy of the certificate of incorporation or registration of the foreign company.
A certified copy of the bylaws, bylaws or memoranda of the foreign company and articles of association, or other instrument that defines its constitution.
Form 79 (return by a far off company with details of directors and changes of details).

A memorandum of appointment or power of attorney authorizing persons residing in Malaysia to simply accept on behalf of the foreign company any notice that must be served.
Form 80 (statutory declaration of the agent of a far off company).
The original copy of form 13a and a replica of the ssm letter that approves the name of the foreign company.
Ssm will issue a certificate of registration if you meet all of those requirements.

Pay registration fees

Once you’ve incorporated your business, you now got to consider ways to pay your registration fee. the corporate registration fee is RM 1,000.

Issuance of a registration certificate

You will receive your new business registration certificate within one hour after the registration fee has been paid.

Sort the tax record

Tax implications and compliance requirements should never be an afterthought. within the first stage of choosing the sort of economic vehicle to use, the various tax rates, allowable tax deductions, the supply of tax incentives, the burden of filing taxes, and therefore the compliance, which may vary counting on whether one uses a indebtedness company, indebtedness company, partnership or sole proprietorship.

The main sorts of taxes that the majority of businesses will face are tax , withholding , land tax , stamp tax , goods and services tax (gst) .

Leaving the gst record as an afterthought may result in lost opportunities to say valuable entry tax credits on incurred large ticket setup costs. Likewise, knowing what pre-business and operational costs are tax deductible against Malaysia tax can bring you instant tax savings for your business.

Hire employees

Malaysia offers a large pool of educated and skilled human resources, with relatively affordable salaries, many with the power to talk multiple languages or dialects (primarily English, Malay, Chinese, Tamil, Cantonese, Hokkien). there’s also excellent mobility of talent from the smaller cities of Malaysia who are hungry for the chance for better career prospects.


Each business owner should take under consideration their obligations as an employer regarding employee-related legal deductions and contributions (such because the employee provident fund, Social Security organization, human resource development fund, and monthly tax deductions), before hiring your first employees.

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