This post is also available in: Melayu (Malay) 简体中文 (Chinese (Simplified))

A Complete Guide to Start A Business in Malaysia 2023

Guide to Start Business in MalaysiaRanked at 24th in 2018 World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business, Malaysia is fast gaining traction as one of the favourite investment destinations to do business in Malaysia and building a business in Malaysia. Though the high ranking in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business signifies that starting a business in Malaysia is not that difficult, it could be a daunting task without proper guidance for how to register a business in Malaysia and start business in Malaysia. Thinking starting own business in Malaysia and what business to start? This Register Business in Malaysia guide serves as your comprehensive how-to guide to starting your business in Malaysia as well as to help you to navigate the ins and outs when starting business in Malaysia, starting a business from home in Malaysia, know how to register business in Malaysia, how to set up a business, how to start a company, how to start a business from home, how to start a small online business, starting a small business, starting your own business, starting a new business, starting a company, setting up a business, steps to starting a business, starting an online business, how to start your own business, how to start a business plan, how to start an online business, how to make a business, how to do business, how to open a business or opening a business, how to start a new business and how to start a small business at home in Malaysia.


Before You Start a Business in Malaysia

The very first step of the journey is to find out “why do you want to start a business?” Though it sounds common and ordinary, it is a very important question before you start a business and building a business. It is because it helps you to sort out your intention and reason why do you want to start a business. Once you figure out the purpose of starting a business, you can start by asking yourself:

  • Do you have any special skill?
  • How do you fund your business?
  • How much capital do you need/have?
  • What is your business idea?
  • Have you carried out any market research?


How Do You Start a Business in Malaysia?

  1. How to start a business plan and have a business plan in place
    No matter what type of business you want to do or what business to start, a business plan is one of the crucial steps if you are thinking about starting a business in Malaysia. While having a business idea is like having the basic ingredient in meal prep process, it also helps you to understand the market and get to know what others are doing.
  2. If you do not have a business plan, create one
    Bear in mind that a great business idea can be a great business idea only if it is paired with a well-written business plan. You can start drafting your business plan with a market research – conduct a market research to know who are your potential competitors within the market (by understanding their strength and weakness), what are the current market trends as well as potential risks. Do remember that a good business plan will help you to see where your company is going, what are the challenges ahead, and what do you need to do to sustain the business.
  3. Evaluate your finance
    Get to know how you are going to fund your business and how to register business in Malaysia. While starting any type of business always has a price, you can start with a marketing budget. This is a crucial step that allowing you to find out what type of business financing solution your business need.


What Are the Steps to Start a Business?

  1. How to Start a Business from HomeDecide the business type
    There are several different types of business entities available in Malaysia. Every business entity has its own compliance requirements, tax structure etc.

  2. Name your business
    Every business needs a name. A good business is more than just a brand name – it is also part of your marketing strategy and brand identity. Run a name check after you have handpicked the business name:

    • complete Request For Availability Of Name form and submit to Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (“SSM”); and
    • you need to pay a fee at RM30.00 for each name applied

    After the name check, register the name with SSM to get approval from the Company Formation in Malaysia.

  3. Scout for a business premise
    Just like a good business name, a good business location is part of your marketing strategy.
  4. Registered office address
    In Malaysia, every business must have a legally registered local office address.
  5. Prepare the incorporation documents
    • Memorandum and Article of Association / Constitution
    • Statuary Declaration By A Director Or Promoter Before Appointment
    • Declaration of Compliance
    • Company name’s approval letter from SSM (one copy).
    • Identity card of every director and company secretary (one copy each).
  6. Incorporate your company
    You need to submit the Incorporation Documents to SSM within the three months from the approval date of the company’s name by SSM. You will need to apply for a new name search if you fail to lodge your incorporation documents to SMM within 3 months.
  7. Pay registration fees
    The Company registration fee is RM1,000.
  8. Issuance of a Certificate of Registration
    You will get your new business Registration Certificate within one hour from the payment transaction of registration fee is made.


Are There Any Business Grants Available?

Little do people know that Malaysian government does have financing schemes to help entrepreneurs and SMEs and learn how to register a business in Malaysia. Apart from the financing schemes, Malaysian government are also providing grants to help businesses to grow, as follows:Building a Business

  1. Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment & Climate Change (“MESTECC”)
  2. Ministry of Finance (“MOF”)
  3. Ministry of Communications and Multimedia (“KKMM”)


How to Start a Small Business in Malaysia?

Many people aim big when come to start their own business, while some people prefer small business. The intentions of starting a small business vary from individual to individual – Some people want to have more quality time with family; some people want to venture the journey as an entrepreneur; and there are people who want to have more flexibility in their working life.

Like many other countries, small businesses are mushrooming in Malaysia – more and more people are starting a small business in the country. From fashion business, e-commerce store to affiliate marketing, Malaysians are venturing the opportunities and possibilities of small business. Foreigners, too, can opt to start their small business in Malaysia.

  1. No matter you are a local entrepreneur or foreign investor, you can start a small business in Malaysia.
  2. First, you need a well thought of business plan together with your budget and marketing plan before you move to the next step – incorporate your business.
  3. The following steps include:
    • Name your business (always remember to do a name check)
    • Look for suitable and strategic office location
  4. Company incorporation:
    • A Company is the common form of business entity for small business and professional bodies.


How to Start a Business from Home?

A home-based business, as the name suggests, is a business where the primary office is located in the business owner’s home. Many Malaysians are exploring the niche market of home-based business. Precisely speaking, more and more people are starting business from home. While the idea of working from home or starting a home-based business sounds fascinating, not everyone knows how to start a business from home or how to start a small business at home in Malaysia.

  1. Figure out what kind of home-based business you want to do:
    First thing first, find out what kind of home-based business you want to do (below are the popular home-based business options):

    • Home Care Business (for children aged 12 and below)What Business to Start
    • Home Child Care
    • Elderly Care
    • Home-based Accountant and Bookkeeper
    • Consultants
    • Online Business
    • Website Design
    • Professional Blogging
    • Home-based bakery
    • Home-based tutor
    • Nail parlour
    • Gadget Repair Business
    • Pet care
    • Virtual assistant
    • Laundry business.
  2. Get down to business
    Then, draft a home-based business plan together with your marketing strategy and financing solution. While you need not scout for a business premise, you should name your business and incorporate it.
  3. Incorporate your home-based business
    In Malaysia, you can incorporate your home-based business as a Company.


How Can 3E Accounting Help You to Start a Business in Malaysia?

You can choose to do it on your own, or engage a professional company registration company to help you to start your business. 3E Accounting Malaysia is always at your assistance! Do contact us to find out more about our company incorporation services as well as our affordable company registration packages!


FAQS for Starting a Business in Malaysia

Company incorporation firms assist with the legal and administrative process of forming a corporate or business entity. This includes name search, guidance on company structures, providing a registered business address, etc.

These firms can also assist in drawing up constitutional documents – i.e., Articles and Memorandum of Association – and legal contracts. Some also offer corporate governance services which ensure legal compliance, such as licencing, statutory audits, etc. 

3E Accounting Malaysia is an example of an award-winning company incorporation firm in Malaysia. We offer a variety of comprehensive packages that are customisable and scalable for the best business solutions available.

The most viable solution is to engage professional company incorporation firms. Such firms offer customisable and comprehensive solutions to start a business, and packages range from registration to compliance. Other sources that can help you begin a business in Malaysia include the following:

  • Legal or accounting firms that offer incorporation services. 
  • Company secretarial service providers who also provide start-up solutions.
  • Online business forums and groups can sometimes offer insightful tips.
  • Government agencies or local area councils.
  • Mentors, business coaches and entrepreneurs.
  • Friends or family who are business owners or have experience running a business.

Beginners should look for businesses that are low cost, easy to start and ones where they can freelance. These include selling baked goods, offering e-hailing services, dropshipping, blogging, website design and development, etc. It’s easy to monetise in-demand skills or talent, especially online.   

A sensible way for budding entrepreneurs to test their business acumen is to start smart. Think home-based, co-working or shared spaces, to begin with. This will keep you within budget and allow you to gauge the real-world reception of your business idea. 

Once your business gains traction and success, you’ll have the confidence and financials to expand.

It is relatively easy to start a business in Malaysia, provided you observe all the legalities and procedures. Registration requirements are straightforward, incorporation costs are low, and there is a variety of business entities to choose from. 

Business registration can be done online or by engaging reputable company incorporation firms such as 3E Accounting Malaysia. Provided all documents are in order, your company can be up and running within a day.  

Malaysia has a robust and conducive business environment that encourages competition and growth. There are also numerous incentives and assistance available, making it easy to start a business here.

It is always advisable to get assistance, especially professional help when starting a business. While Malaysia does have an easy online company incorporation process, there are other things to consider. Professional incorporation firms, such as 3E Accounting Malaysia, can make a difference in your business engagement by:

  • Knowing the type of financing schemes, grants, etc., that the Government offers for specific businesses.
  • Foreign investors will need local professional help to star
  • t up or open a bank account, etc.
  • Ensuring proper compliance, licences and permits for the company.
  • A complete suite of business support services from pre-incorporation to post.
  • Do your due diligence and write a business plan, allocating the proper budget for location choices. 
  • Study the market size so that there will be enough volume to sustain your business at that location.
  • Research your business’ target market, habits, interests, and other relevant demographics.
  • Consider what is the most essential to your business – is it visibility, parking spots, amenities, accessibility, leasing terms, etc.
  • Scope out the competition and availability of resources as well as whether you will need to niche down.
  • Hire professional incorporation firms to help narrow down viable locations and help you make better choices.

In Malaysia, international business and trade form crucial components of economic progress and expansion. Malaysia is a wealthy nation, sporting a robust business environment, with international business as a strong foundation. It is an economic lifeline that drives export-oriented industrialisation.  

As a founding member of the WTO (World Trade Organisation), Malaysia is a major international trade nation. Its external and international business policies are favourable towards FDIs (foreign direct investments). Some of the top export categories include chemicals, manufactured goods, electronic products, etc.  

Overall, international business is a cornerstone of Malaysia’s economic growth, spurring the nation’s modernisation and prosperity. 

Malaysia has much to offer any entrepreneur or corporation seeking to establish a business here. According to the Department of Statistics Malaysia, as of mid-2021, Malaysia’s total trade value was RM181 billion. As a business-friendly destination, Malaysia offers the following for savvy investors:

  • It has a mature level of economic development that provides for a competitive commercial arena.
  • Strong national initiatives to scale up infrastructure and connectivity.
  • Broad adoption of digitalisation and strong support for SMEs (small, medium enterprises). 
  • A diverse, English-speaking, and multi-talented workforce.
  • Established regulatory framework, competitive tax regimes.
  • Cosmopolitan lifestyle and low cost of living. 
  • Easy, straightforward, and online business registration.
  • Competitive and robust business environment. 
  • Market-oriented and stable economy.
  • Strong and committed national initiatives from the Government. 
  • Good support for SMEs (small, medium enterprises).
  • Ranked 11th best global start-up destination. 
  • Developing infrastructure and good connectivity.
  • Strong manufacturing and export activity.
  • Positive environment for FDIs (foreign direct investments).
  • Steady DDIs (domestic direct investments).
  • Favourable tax regimes, visa policies, etc.
  • Mature and well-developed legal system.
  • Rapid digitalisation across many industries.
  • Economic stability and growth.
  • Well-established transportation network.
  • Low cost of living. 
  • Large local business community.
  • Educated and English-speaking population.
  • Diverse and skilled workforce.
  • Cosmopolitan lifestyle.

Malaysia has a dynamic business environment, stable economic growth, and is a hotspot for international start-ups. Rapid digitalisation underscores many major industries, while FDIs (foreign direct investments) are robustly encouraged. However, it pays to be prudent when having a business, and Malaysia presents the following challenges for entrepreneurs:

  • Complicated visas and entry permits for foreign labour.
  • Business licencing and permits are complex, requiring approvals from Federal Government, State Authorities, and local councils. 
  • Foreigners may find it difficult to open a local bank account.
  • The imperative need for local partners or shareholders.

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of a country’s economy and growth. In Malaysia, 2020 statistics show that SMEs were 97.2% of all businesses, cementing their status as the economy’s mainstay. Just like any other business in Malaysia, an SME starts with registration or incorporation.  

This process is available online with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) or Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (SSM). You can structure your SME as a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLP, Sdn Bhd, etc. Following registration, your SME needs approvals, licencing and permits.  

Professional incorporation firms such as 3E Accounting offer hassle-free business registration and approval processes.

Yes, you can, and the process is relatively straightforward once you choose a suitable business name and structure. Company types include a sole proprietorship, Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), Sdn Bhd, etc. 

Registration is online with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) or Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (SSM). It’s important to remember that you must register with SSM as long as your online business turns a profit.  

Your online profit-generating trade activity will need a business licence. This is regardless of the size or type of the online business. It allows you to conduct your business legally and validly, online or otherwise.

  • Carry out your due diligence and write up a business proposal.
  • Plan a scalable budget, financial forecast and cash flow.
  • Define target markets, possible niching ideas, and find a strategic location.
  • Pick a suitable company structure and name – or consider buying a franchise. 
  • Register or incorporate your company – or engage business incorporation firms to help you.
  • Get approvals, licencing and permits, such as Halal Certification, etc.
  • Register for taxes, SST, etc.
  • Lease or buy premises, renovate and decorate.
  • Open a corporate bank account.
  • Buy equipment, hire and train staff.
  • Launch active social media campaigns to increase brand awareness.

Home-based businesses are trending and starting one in Malaysia is easy and cost-effective. As its name implies, a home-based business operates from residential premises, is easy, fast, and cheap to set up. You can start one by following these simple steps:

  • Decide on your business idea, e.g., dropshipping, baked goods, etc.
  • Write up a business proposal and financial plan.
  • Choose your company structure and name.
  • Register or incorporate your business.
  • Get the appropriate approvals, licences and permits.
  • Register for taxes.
  • Open a business bank account.
  • Promote your business via social media, branding, etc.

In Malaysia, it is legally viable to run a business from any residential property. Generally, the premises must be in a residential property zone and no more than 40% of the area can be used for commercial purposes.  

Nevertheless, it is prudent to check with your local council first, especially if you’re a home-based business. Some home-based businesses – e.g., writer, bookkeeper, etc. – will raise no apparent issues running from a residential property.  

The same does not apply to a business that requires warehousing or commercial-level baking, cooking, etc. Factors that affect this situation include noise pollution, waste materials, the possibility of nuisance or dangerous activities.

A home-based business in Malaysia is any commercial or business activity that operates from the owner’s residence or home. It can be of any type or size, as long as provided its trade activity occurs in the residential premises. A home-based business can literally be anything, and some examples include the following popular ideas:

  • Selling baked goods, cooked food, etc.
  • Bookkeeping, accounting, etc.
  • Blogging, content writing, etc.
  • Graphic designer, website designer, etc.
  • Cottage industries
  • Coder, cybersecurity consultant, etc.
  • Videographer
  • Tailoring
  • Dropshipping
  • Affiliate marketing
  • E-commerce
  • Selling products on Facebook, Shopee, Lazada, etc.
  • Virtual assistant
  • Event management
  • Online tutor / coach / mentor
  • Research the business, competitors, and the relevant market it performs in.
  • Finalise whether it’s an Outright Purchase, Share Purchase or Asset Purchase. 
  • Check the business’ tax returns, financial statements, licences and permits, incorporation filing, caveats, etc.
  • Check for trademark or IP assignment agreements, permissions for personal data transfer, etc.
  • Contracts with existing employees, which may carry forward to the new owner.
  • Get professional business valuation, including its market share, liquidation value, potential revenue estimates, initial investment structures, etc. 
  • After purchasing, ensure you have the title deeds, bill of sale, transfer documents, lease and purchase agreements, etc.
  • Is my business idea feasible?
  • Can I get investors?
  • Does it meet a need in the Malaysian business arena?
  • Can I monetise my product/business in the Malaysian market?
  • Should my business be online or brick-and-mortar?
  • Should I get help incorporating my business?
  • I don’t speak Bahasa Malaysia; is this a problem?
  • What legislation must I be familiar with?
  • What approvals will my business need?
  • Does my business need to be Halal-certified?
  • Do I need business insurance; where can I get one?
  • Are there grants or schemes for SMEs from the Malaysian Government?
  • What exit strategies does my Malaysian business have?

Starting a business in Malaysia is straightforward, but there are some specifics to be aware of. Registering or incorporating your business is a top priority, as is getting the appropriate approvals, licences and permits. You should also be mindful of regulations on foreign direct investments (FDIs), shareholding and local equity conditions.  

Specific industries allow 100% foreign equity in investments, while some may require a local majority shareholder. Others, like security services, must be entirely locally owned. There are also general trade embargoes against Israel. 

Hence, it is prudent to do some due diligence first and be aware of sector-specific regulations.

  • Research the Malaysian market, do a needs analysis and pinpoint what’s trending.
  • Learn about Malaysian culture, lifestyle, and general business customs.
  • Find reliable outsource partners – from company incorporation professionals to accountants, lawyers, website designers, HR consultants, etc.
  • Know the key steps and agencies relevant for registering your company or business.
  • Tax and SST rules, annual filing procedures, and any double taxation treaties. 
  • Look into Government grants, subsidies, schemes, etc., that may benefit your business.
  • Check out the available talent and level of specialisation or skills available.
  • Scope out the viability of expansion plans in Malaysia or Southeast Asia.

A general rule of thumb is to start a business when a country’s economy is robust and booming. However, the global pandemic has rewritten the rules of business, leaving a huge market gap and creating novel opportunities.  

As unemployment hits, there will never be a better time to start your entrepreneurial journey than the present. Savvy entrepreneurs are already moving in on a market with fewer competitors, greater demand, and more talent for hire. Access to consumers is also easier as e-commerce flourishes with rapid digitalisation. Investors are also on the lookout for the next big idea.

One of the easiest businesses to start in Malaysia is any type of online entrepreneurship. At its simplest, an online business requires your time, innovative idea or product, and sales drive.  

It could be a profitable online blog, a self-published novel, online coaching or tutoring, etc. It can even be dropshipping, affiliate marketing, or resale of products on networking sites. All are easy to set up, low cost, freelance, and primarily home-based, allowing you to be the boss. 

After registering your business and acquiring the relevant approvals, all that’s left is to monetise your idea or product.

Mirroring 21st-century business practices, Malaysia is a modern nation with a robust, competitive, and transformative business environment. This promotes a modern way of doing business, especially via synergistic partnerships that complement this business ecosystem. 

Engaging reliable and professional company incorporation firms, such as 3E Accounting Malaysia, is one such way. Teaming up with professionals offering global experience and local expertise ensures a unique and dynamic perspective to your business.  

They give you the luxury to focus on your business while they take care of the nitty-gritty details. Such firms offer comprehensive solutions that will elevate your business outcomes.

While it’s not a legal requirement, it is good business sense to have one. A business plan will clearly spell out all the essential stages of a business lifecycle. You’ll have a clear picture of what needs doing to ensure a smooth start-up and sustainable growth.   

Reaching milestones and business objectives becomes achievable with clear goals set out from the very start. Most importantly, a business plan details the financials- actuals and forecasts. This can help you get funding and better manage cash flow.  

A well-written business plan will quite simply make your entrepreneurial journey a better one.

Yes, you can, as there are several agencies that offer assistance and financing facilities for start-ups and entrepreneurs. The Malaysian Government’s online business portal lists agencies such as SME Bank, CGC, MARA, MATRADE and TEKUN. Some of the grants available for entrepreneurs and small, medium enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups include the following: 

  • Incentivising Women Entrepreneurs
  • Indian Community Entrepreneur Development Scheme (SPUMI)
  • MARA Business Payment Rescheduling
  • PEMERKASA’s Additional Employment Incentives
  • Penjana Kerjaya 2.0
  • PERMAI Special Prihatin Grant (GKP)
  • SME Digitisation Grant
  • Targeted Loan Repayment Assistance (TRA)
  • Wage Subsidy Programme (WSP 3.0)
  • Working Capital Guarantee Scheme (SJMK)
  • Tax exemptions for MSC Malaysia status companies.
  • Tax exemptions for businesses undertaking green technology projects or services.
  • Industrial building allowance and total tax exemption for ten years for biotechnology organisations.
  • EPF (Employee Provident Fund) initiatives.
  • Manufacturing companies’ incentives such as automation capital allowance. 
  • Overall tax exemption and tax rate reduction for e-commerce businesses.
  • Wage subsidies and reduced corporate tax rate for SMEs.
  • Enhanced loan repayment assistance and credit management for SMEs.
  • Pioneer status and investment tax allowance. 
  • Special incentive schemes for import-export businesses. 
  • Incentives to boost consumption of local products.
  • Assistance for Women entrepreneurs.
  • Improved financial aid for digitising businesses.

It’s possible to start a business in Malaysia without registering it, but it’s certainly not advisable to do so. Irrelevant of the size, type, or activity of your business, it is a legal requirement to register or incorporate. Failure to do so may result in fines (up to RM50,000) or punishments (up to two years imprisonment). 

Registration is online with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) or Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (SSM). SSM will issue a Business Registration Certificate upon successful registration. Firms such as 3E Accounting Malaysia also offer comprehensive and customisable company incorporation packages for the discerning entrepreneur.

Registering or incorporating your business is a legal requirement in Malaysia. It might be tempting to start, especially online, without doing either of these. However, this leads to an assumption that you’re operating as a sole trader.  

The Malaysian Government’s online business portal provides general timelines for company registration. The site stipulates 30 days from the date of commencement of trade to register a Sole Proprietorship or Partnership. 

All other types of company structures require incorporation first before commencing trade or business. If you run your business without registration or incorporation, you risk fines, punishment and or business closure.

Grants: available, especially for SMEs and start-ups, from Government agencies and participating corporations, but has a stringent set of eligibility rules. 

Angel Investors, Crowdfunding & Venture Capital: provides substantial amounts of funds, has fewer qualification criteria, but can be competitive and offset by equity or convertible debts.   

Business Loan: offers higher funding but may not be easy to qualify for; there are also restrictions on what you can use the loan for. 

Personal Loan: easier to qualify than business loans and are ideal for small start-ups that do not need much capital; interest rates can be high.

Bahasa Malaysia or BM is the official national language of Malaysia. It is also a prerequisite for employment appointments in the Government and public sector. However, a majority of the population speak and write good English. 

BM is not a prerequisite to opening a business in Malaysia, though it does ease the administrative process. Incorporation firms, such as 3E Accounting Malaysia, are one viable solution to this issue. 

Official documents and dealings with the Malaysian Government usually require interaction in BM. While English translations may be available, it is safer to assume that the medium of exchange will be BM.


As the world restarts after the global pandemic-inspired slowdown, economies are gearing up for growth. And Malaysia is no exception to this uptrend. According to Bank Negara Malaysia, the nation’s GDP (gross domestic product) for 2021 is forecast between 3.0% to 4.0%. 

The World Bank has forecast Malaysia’s economic growth prospects at 3.3% for 2021. Malaysia is currently 25 out of 64 economies in the World Competitiveness Yearbook 2021 ranking.  

While growth appears viable, economic factors are still in the process of settling into an upward progress pattern. Gradual and cautious recovery remains the key to sustainable economic increase.

Yes, there are. You can find them on the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) or Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (SSM) website. The following is a quick summary of the most important ones:

  • The name can’t use words that already indicate or mean ‘company’.
  • Avoid using an existing (or identical) company name.
  • You can use your name or the names of directors.
  • The name can be in any language.
  • Adding the prefix ‘The’, punctuation marks, or spaces between letters, won’t make any difference. 
  • Avoids words that are gazetted, obscene, controlled, or suggestive of connections to professional bodies, government agencies, etc. 

Yes, there are, as per the Companies Act 2016 and guidelines from Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (SSM). These include the following, amongst others:

  • Confusing acronyms that can be mistaken for Government Agencies (SSM, KWSP, LHDN, etc.) or learning institutions (UM, UKM, etc.).
  • Names suggestive of professional bodies, laws, or government agencies such as Money Broker, Stock Exchange, Takaful, CPA, Bar Council, etc. 
  • Without a letter of authorisation, you can’t use gazetted words such as Royal, Imperial, National, Federal, ASEAN, OPEC, etc. 
  • Some words are controlled in the national and public interest, such as Malaysia Boleh, DIGI, PETRONAS, Cigarettes, Liquor, etc. 

Business contracts can include a variety of legal documentation such as shareholder agreements, employment contracts, service agreements, etc. As they are legally binding documents, it’s always advisable to have legal professionals handle the necessities. 

In Malaysia, you can get help for your business contracts from reputable law firms or trained legal professionals. Some company secretarial firms also offer legal services which extend to business contracts.  

The most effective solution is to engage reliable company incorporation firms, such as 3E Accounting Malaysia. These types of firms offer one-stop business solutions that you can customize.

Yes, you definitely can have such a business. First, incorporate your company with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) or Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (SSM). Next, apply for an import or export licence from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI). The following are matters to be aware of:

  • All import and export regulations go through the digital window Dagang.Net.
  • Malaysia follows the Harmonized Tariff System (goods originating outside ASEAN) and Harmonised Tariff Nomenclature (goods originating from ASEAN member states).
  • It’s best to work with reputable customs brokers and freight forwarders to ensure smooth and seamless customs procedures and clearance.

As of 2020, Malaysia’s top investment industries consist of the following:

  • Manufacturing sector (RM91.3 billion)
  • Services sector (RM66.7 billion)
  • Primary sectors (RM6.0 billion) 

Of these, foreign direct investments (FDIs) were RM64.2 billion (39.1%), while domestic direct investments (DDIs) were RM99.8 billion (60.9%). In total, these industries accounted for RM164 billion in overall investments. A further RM65.9 billion of potential investment projects are in the approval process for implementation in 2021 – 2022.  

Top-performing industries were electrical and electronics components, petroleum/petrochemical products, metal products and paper-related industries. Others include machinery and equipment, chemicals, rubber products, and transport technology. 

Malaysia’s total export value for 2020 was USD234 billion:

  1. 37% (USD86.6 billion) – electrical machinery, circuits, semiconductors.
  2. 11.3% (USD26.5 billion) – mineral fuels, oil, palm oil, refined petroleum.
  3. 8.6% (USD20.2 billion) – machinery, computers. 
  4. 5.8% (USD13.5 billion) – animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes. 
  5. 4.8% (USD11.2 billion) – rubber, vulcanised rubber items.  

Malaysia’s total import value for 2020 was USD189.8 billion:

  1. 30.2% (USD57.3 billion) – electrical machinery and equipment.
  2. 11.9% (USD 22.7 billion) – mineral fuels, oil.
  3. 9.4% (USD 17.9 billion) – machinery, computers.
  4. 4.1% (USD7.8 billion) – plastics, plastic items.
  5. 2.8% (USD5.4 billion) – medical, technical, optical, apparatus.

It is a legal requirement to submit a registered business address for all Malaysian businesses. This must be done before commencing business or within 14 days of incorporating your company. A registered business address is where all business correspondence is sent, statutory records are kept, etc. 

While a registered business address can be your business address, it is not necessary for it to be so. Most businesses tend to use their company secretary’s office as the registered business address for the sake of convenience. Company incorporation firms also offer this service as part of their incorporation package.

Your company in Malaysia may need a variety of approvals to carry out its business activity legally. The process may be complex; hence, it is always advisable to engage professional assistance to ensure proper compliance. The following are examples of some of the more general approvals your business may need:

  • Business License 
  • Business Premises or Trade Licence 
  • Office Licence
  • Online Business Licence
  • Sales Tax Licence
  • Promotion Licence
  • Music Licence for background music 
  • Content or Network Licences for streaming
  • Signboard Licence
  • Advertisement License
  • Publication Licence to distribute leaflets
  • Fire and Safety Approval Permit
  • Food and Beverage Permits
  • Halal certification

A business needs some form of approval, licencing or permit before being able to legally start its activities. In Malaysia, business licencing comes from Government agencies, local authorities, the Federal Government, and statutory bodies. The type of approvals your business needs will depend on location, activity, and business industry. 

A business licence can constitute any of the following:

  • General Approvals: includes business premise licence, company registration, tax registration, signboard licence, etc.
  • Activity Specific Licences: relates to specific activities such as food sales, building plan approvals, etc.
  • Industry-Specific Licences: sector licences such as for banking, manufacturing, telecommunication, etc.

Currently, the need for approvals, licencing and permits to sell homemade food in Malaysia is still a grey area. Generally, you’ll need to incorporate your company and get the relevant approvals, e.g., food handling and hygiene certificate, etc. However, in Malaysia, there is still a lack of codification when it comes to the homemade food business.  

Some states now require home-based businesses to register for a Business from Home (BFH) permit. Other states allow pop-up food stalls or delivery of homemade food without any form of permits or licencing. The safest course is to check with the local authorities first.

Yes, you can, and this type of business activity is turning out to be a popular go-to for entrepreneurs. The global pandemic and economic slowdown saw many people losing their corporate jobs. As a cottage industry business, selling homemade food has brought in a much-needed source of income.   

The setup itself requires little overheads and investments, relying more upon ingenuity, innovation, and hard work. This has led to its popularity as a good fall-back plan to raise revenue. Further, Malaysia’s homemade food business still lacks proper regulations, making it very easy to set up shop and earn.

Yes, you most certainly do, as it is still a business carrying out trade activities for profit. As the business owner, you will be responsible for registering or incorporating your company and getting the relevant approvals. Licences and permits come from the Federal Government, State Authorities, local councils and professional bodies. 

Approvals will depend on your location and business activity. It can include getting a business licence, online business licence and checking with the local authorities on zoning ordinances. You may even need food hygiene certification and a signboard licence if you plan to hang up a sign.

Yes, generally, if your online business turns a profit, you will need a licence for it. Online enterprises fall under the purview of the Malaysian Consumer Protection (Electronic Trade Transactions) Regulations 2012. 

This applies regardless of whether you are simply doing dropshipping or affiliate marketing via e-commerce platforms (e.g., Shopee, Lazada). It also applies to sales via networking sites (e.g., Facebook, WhatsApp) or income from blogs, etc. 

To get a licence, you will first need to register or incorporate your business with Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (SSM). Also known as the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM), registration is online.

It is prudent for your business to have a corporate bank account in Malaysia. Known as business or current accounts, they offer more facilities than standard bank accounts. They also increase overall customer confidence. 

Corporate bank accounts in Malaysia offer facilities such as a checking account, overdraft services and foreign banking. These extra facilities will make it easier for your company to conduct its financial transactions. 

To open a corporate bank account, you will need to submit relevant documents and data. These include a certificate of incorporation, a registered business address in Malaysia, a list of directors, etc

Opening a business bank account can be a bit tedious and complex, especially if you’re a foreign investor. There are stringent rules to comply with, as Malaysia is strict in its anti-money laundering and terrorism financing policies. 

All banks in Malaysia conduct thorough customer due diligence and checks before opening a business bank account. All data and documentation will go through a comprehensive vetting process that flags high-risk customers. 

The best route would be to engage professional company incorporation firms, like 3E Accounting Malaysia. Such firms usually offer bank account opening as part of their business solution packages.

Businesses in Malaysia have several dissolution or exit strategies available. Each has its pros and cons and requirements to be met. Options available to close down your business in Malaysia include:

  • Striking off a company: applicable to private limited companies (Sdn Bhd), a request to strike off is made to the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM).
  • Winding Up by Voluntary Liquidation: can be either Members’ Voluntary Liquidation or Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation, a liquidator needs to be appointed.
  • Branch Office Closure: for businesses established as a foreign company or branch office, it requires lodging a Cessation of Business Notice with CCM.

Malaysia Company Incorporation Services

Let us cut the chase, starting a business in Malaysia promises a good Return On Investment to your business. Whoever plans to start a new business in Southeast Asia, be it a small business or big investment, Malaysia has a lot to offer. Contact us for more information about how to start a small online business and how to start a company in Malaysia.