Doing Business in Malaysia

Doing Business in Malaysia

Starting A Business in Malaysia as a Foreigner

The Important First Few Steps:

Once you have decided Malaysia is the place to invest, the key points of “Starting A Business in Malaysia” will help you tie up the loose ends!

Below are several key points to consider for starting a business in Malaysia as a foreigner:

  1. What kind of business can I do? What am I passionate about? [Read: Businesses not permitted to foreigners]
  2. Is my business idea feasible to conduct as a foreigner? Are they many opportunities to be explored?
  3. The suitable business entity for foreigners for your business? What are the options of ownership for each entity available for foreigners? Is my business nature able to obtain 100% foreign owned entity?
  4. Whichtrade licensesrequired for my business? My aim to start a franchise business – how to get started?
  5. Am I guaranteed to be able to obtain all necessary approvals for trade licenses and work permit right after I register the company? This is the most crucial thing to know to avoid being stucked at the first step in your registration of company itself.

6.What are the main costs involved in registration of company, set-up, trade licenses and work permit?

  1. What kind of problems generally faced by foreigners setting Malaysia company?

Example of costs may include followings:

  • Company registration fee with Authorized Capital required for incorporation of a Malaysia Sdn Bhd Company 
  • Trade licenses may be wholesale,retail trade (WRT) and local town council licenses for the premise and advertisement
  • In the case of franchise business, your cost will include franchise, training and agreement fees
  • Deposit for office/shop space (usually amounts to 2 months of rental and 1 month utility fee)
  • Office/Shop renovation costs, furnitures and fittings
  • Initial deposit on opening a bank account. The minimum required ranges from RM1,000 to RM5,000 (varies with banks)
  • Cost of setting up landlines and broadband (deposit per line is roughly RM450)

7. With this business, what are the visa options available for my family and myself ? There are many kind of work permits of different company structure for foreigners to chose, each has its own purpose and advantages. Check it out which structure suits you!

For those interested to use Malaysia as hub and start an International Trades, here are some keys questions:

  1. What is the type of entity?
    2. What is the suitable structure should I have?
    3. Do I need any trade licenses?
    4. How can I maximise the tax for my profit and personal tax?
    5. How fast can the Company being formed complete with 2 years Business Visa for me and my family?
    6. What is the difference between local Malaysian Sdn Bhd Company and Labuan International Company

MalaysiaBizAdvisory act as your Independent Business Advisor …helping You to Start Up A Business in Malaysia leading to successful in obtaining Expatriate Work Visa for you and your family complete in just one stop! For each case, we evaluate every details in documentation and profiling of the case from day one start from the point of company registration, this is to ensure all approvals are able to obtain from various governmental bodies to the final stage of visa endorsement, for example if your objective is also getting you and your family the visa to stay in Malaysia.

Starting a Business in Malaysia As Foreigner is made easy by MalaysiaBizAdvisory– your Independent Investment Consultant! Contact us at +603-2181 2882 or email us at  

Starting a Sole Proprietorship/Partnership

Business includes every form of trade, commerce, craftsmanship, calling, profession or other activity carried on for the purpose of gain, but does not include any office or employment or any charitable undertaking or any occupation specified in the Schedule of the Registration of Businesses Act 1956 (ROBA 1956) & ROBA Rules 1957

Two (2) type of Business

  1. Sole proprietorship: Business wholly owned by a single individual using personal name as per his / her identity card or trade name.
  2. Partnership: Business owned by two or more persons but not exceeding 20 persons. Identity card name can’t be used as business name.

How to start a business?

  1. Registration of a new business to be done within 30 days from the date of commencement of the business.
    2. Registration can be done at any SSM counter or through the e-Lodgement services
    3. Complete the Business Registration Form (Form A) . Refer to Guidelines For New Business Registration

Business may be registered using personal name or using a trade name.
(i) Personal Name – Business name using personal name as stated in the identity card is not required to apply for business name approval.
(ii) Trade Name – Complete business name approval form (Form PNA.42).  Refer to Guidelines for Business Name Application.

  1. Business names approval is according to Rules 15, Rules of Business Registration 1957.
    5. Business Registration can be made for a period of one (1) year and not more than five (5) years.

Who can submit Form A?

The owner/one of the partners


Trade Name – RM60 per year
Personal Name – RM30 per year
Branch (s) – RM5 per year for each branch

When Business Registration Certificate can be obtained?

Within 1 hour after payment

Validity certificate of registration

Registration of Business Act 1956 Validity Certificate of Registration Issued Using A4 Paper


Business includes every form of trade, commerce, craftsmanship, calling, profession or other activity carried on for the purposes of gain, but does not include any office or employment or any charitable undertaking or any occupation specified in the schedule under the provisions of the Business Registration Act 1956 (ROBA 1956). Business that may be registered under the ROBA 1956 is a business operating in West Malaysia which includes Peninsular Malaysia and the Federal Territory. The types of business are as follows :

1.Sole Proprietorship – a business wholly owned by a single owner

2.Partnership – a business owned by at least two (2) persons and not more than twenty (20) partners.

Registration Procedure

1.Business may be registered using personal name or using a trade name.

a)The business name using personal name as stated in the identity card is not required to apply for business name.

Example: Ruslan bin Mohamed, Siow Ah Thai or, Ramasamy a/l Mutusamy

b)Trade Name is the name of the proposed business and must obtain prior approval from the Registrar of Business.

Example: Kedai Dobi Mewah, Lucky Star Catering or, ABS Unggul Enterprise.

2.Complete the Business Registration Form (Form A) with the following information :

a)Business name

b)Commencement date of business

c)Principal place of business

d)The address of the branch of business (if any)

e)Information of owner and partners

f)Type of business carried out

g)Provide a copy of the Partnership Agreement (if any)

3.Every business owner and partner must sign the completed Form.

4.Person responsible must submit the application to counter or through online via SSM e-Lodgement services in the SSM’s website

5.Documents to be attached are as follows:

a)Photocopy of owner and/ or partner’s identity card;

b)Permit, licence or Supporting letter for the type of business e.g Nurseries (Department of Social Welfare), Kindergarten, Tuition Centres, Schools/College (Ministry/ Department of Education); and

c)Approval or Supporting Letter from relevant agency if required by the Registrar of Business.


1.Owner must be Malaysian Citizen or Permanent Resident of Malaysia.

2.Owner must be aged between 18 years and above.

3.Only owner / partner is allowed to submit application.

Registration Fee

1.Sole proprietorship using personal name as stated in the identity card

– RM30.00

2.Sole proprietorship or partnership using trade name – RM60.00

3.Registration of branches – RM5.00 for each branch

4.Business Information Print-out – RM10.00

General Guide

1.Register the business not later than thirty (30) days from the date of commencement of business.

2.A new business registration may valid for a period of one (1) year and does not exceed five (5) years on each registration.

3.The nature of the registered business should not contravene any laws or likely to be used for unlawful purposes or any purpose prejudicial to or incompatible with the security of the Federation, public order or morality.

4.Business Registration Certificate can be obtained within one (1) hour from the time payment is made.

5.A person who carries on business without registering a business commits an offence under the ROBA 1956 and if found guilty be fined not exceeding RM50,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two (2) years or both.

6.Even though businesses have been registered with SSM, business owners are responsible to obtain licences, permits or approval letters from other relevant authorities in order to operate their businesses.