How to apply bussiness license

Business License Malaysia

An Expatriate Guide to Starting a Business in Malaysia as Foreigner

Strategically situated at the crossroad of Southeast Asia, Malaysia is the ideal gateway to ASEAN market. Hailed as the country that welcomes foreign investors, Malaysia is one of the best countries in the region that offers business opportunities connected with other ASEAN markets.


Starting a business in Malaysia

It is an undeniable fact that Malaysia is one of the preferred investment destinations in Southeast Asia due to its booming economy. As a central business hub in the region, this country attracts foreign investors from across the globe. The country’s extensive and well-connected transport networks are the reason why Malaysia is deemed to be an accessible base from which to do business, especially to those in the manufacturing, services or export industry. However, starting a business as an expat in the country is not an easy task. 


Get to know what kind of business can you do as an expat?

Malaysia welcomes foreign investors to do business in the country. The very first step is to know what type of business you can do as expat/foreign investors. Like many other jurisdictions, Malaysia has several different types of business entities. The choice on the type of business entity will affect compliance requirements, tax structure etc. In Malaysia, expats or foreign investors can opt to setup a locally incorporated company or  foreign-owned company but he/she cannot set up sole proprietorship or partnerships in Malaysia, unless they have permanent residency (PR) in Malaysia.

Generally, a private limited company, a branch office and a representative office are the three most common options of business entities adopted by foreigners in Malaysia.

Working Permit Application

In Malaysia, the Malaysian Development Investment Authority has mapped out several different visa options for entrepreneurs depending on the exact circumstances. You can apply for a short-term visit pass (social) if you are surveying and exploring business options before starting a business here, or a visit pass (temporary employment) if you are certain that you are going to be in Malaysia for up to two years.

If you are planning a long-term stay in Malaysia, the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H)  Program is a good option for expats who want to stay and invest in Malaysia for a longer period.With applying Malaysia My Second Home Program(MM2H), you are allowed to own a company without share holder.


100% foreign-owned company application

In Malaysia, foreigners can run their 100% foreign-owned private limited (Sdn Bhd) company with full control. However, there are certain restrictions with the permissible business setup Malaysia. 

Here is the snapshot of a minimum company setup requirement for 100% foreign-owned private limited (Sdn Bhd) company:

  • Paid up capital: RM 1,000,000
  • Other license requirement: Wholesale, retail & trade license (WRT) for businesses in retail, trading (import and export), distributive trades, restaurants, franchise business and services and consultancy.
  • If you are setting up a consulting firm, only RM 1 paid up capital is required and no WRT license is needed for the business.

In addition, all companies operating in Malaysia must file tax returns regardless of their resident status. A foreign-owned private limited (Sdn Bhd) company can engage the services of a licensed tax agent to file the returns on its behalf according to the Year of Assessment (A company is tax resident in Malaysia for a basis year if the management and control is exercised in Malaysia at any time during that basis year).

Hence, you are considered as a Local Resident Company as long as you have control and management in Malaysia. The management and control are considered to be exercised where the directors meet to conduct the company’s business (or affairs) irrespective of where the company might be incorporated. Please note that the management and control of a business of a company would depend on how the business is managed. 

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Close Menu


Find your next apartment or home

Try to search for homestay, Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bharu

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on twitter

Sorry. You must be logged in to view this form.