Starting a Business in Malaysia
Information about how to start a business in Malaysia including details on different types of business set-ups (sole proprietorships, partnerships and companies), the registration process and more...
The Malaysian Government’s official website (in Malaysian) is an excellent starting point for information about doing business in Malaysia.
New Business Set-ups
Before starting any new business, you must register the business and obtain the necessary licenses and permits. Malaysian law stipulates that all foreign companies must either register in Malaysia or incorporate a local company in order to trade within the country. According to the Companies Commission of Malaysia (the statutory body which regulates businesses in Malaysia), a foreign company is defined as “a company, corporation, society, association or other body incorporated outside Malaysia; or an unincorporated society association, or other body which under the law of its place of origin may sue or be sued”.
The Malaysian Government Website provides foreign entrepreneurs useful information on starting a business in Malaysia and links to government assistance schemes, as well as information on working and living in Malaysia. It is a portal that provides government-to-business contents and e-services.
The Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) – also known as Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (SSM) in the local language, Bahasa Malaysia – regulates all business activities and can advise prospective applicants about the required procedures. Applications forms can be downloaded from the SSM website.
The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) provides information and funding for start-up businesses.
- For more information about MIDA’s activities: Click here
Registering a Business and Types of Businesses
A business can be defined as an organization that provides goods and / or services to others who want or need them. Every form of trade, commerce, craftsmanship, occupation, profession or other activities that are carried out for the purpose of maximizing profit are included under this definition.
Entrepreneurs are required to register their business with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) under the Companies Act 1965 and the Registration of Businesses Act 1956.
There are three types of businesses: Sole-proprietorship, partnership and limited company.
Sole-proprietorships and partnerships
Businesses that can be registered under the Registration of Businesses Act 1956 at the Commission of Companies Malaysia are sole-proprietorships and partnerships. A Sole-proprietorship is a business owned by a single owner. A partnership is a business owned by two or more people, but does not have more 20 partners.
- For more information about sole-proprietorships and partnerships: Click here
- To view the Registration of Business Act 1956 in full: Click here
Private limited and unlimited companies
Businesses that can be incorporated under the Companies Act 1965 are:
- A company limited by shares
- An unlimited company
A company that has a share capital can form a private limited company. In Malaysia, private limited companies have the term ‘Sendirian Berhad’ or ‘Sdn. Bhd.’ following their name. Such a company is deemed a legal entity so it may own properties and can also be sued by others or even sue others. The owners of such a company are usually not responsible for its liabilities, unless they are the direct result of an owner’s wrongdoing.
- For comprehensive information about private limited companies in Malaysia: Click here
To form a private limited company, the following are required:
- A minimum of two subscribers to the shares of the company
- A minimum of two directors
- A company secretary
- For information on incorporation procedures for a local company: Click here
- For information on incorporation procedures for a foreign company: Click here
The Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) aims to develop both the manufacturing and service sectors in Malaysia and has a range of incentives to support businesses operating in these areas.
- For information about the incentives available for the manufacturing sector: Click here
- For information about the incentives available for the service sector: Click here
Closing a Business
- For information on how to close a registered business in Malaysia: Click here
- For information on how to wind up or dissolve a business in Malaysia: Click here