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Company Formation in Malaysia

Updated on Thursday 06th June 2024

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Malaysia is a country with one of the strongest economies in Southeast Asia and one of the most competitive economies in the world. With its international trade and manufacturing, but also with its large banking center, Malaysia attracts more and more foreign investors wanting to set up a company on its territory. 

Therefore, if you need legal assistance on the process of opening a company in Malaysia, our team of consultants is ready to assist you. Our assistance includes post-incorporation services, such as tax compliance, accounting and others.  

Types of companies in Malaysia

There are various business entities to choose from when wanting to open a company in Malaysia and these are some of them: the limited liability company, the sole proprietorship, the partnership, but you can also choose to establish a branch office or a representative one. However, the most commonly preferred is the limited liability company and here are the few requirements that need to be met:
  • 2 shareholders;
  • a minimum share capital of RM 1;
  • at least 1 director (if the company has more directors, at least one has to be a resident or a citizen of Malaysia, the nationality however not being of any importance);
  • 1 company secretary who needs to have Malaysian residency.

What is the main incorporation document for a company in Malaysia? 

Corporate entities, such as the limited liability company in Malaysia, gain legal personality through their statutory documents. In Malaysia, the legislation provides the possibility to incorporate a legal entity by signing the articles of association and the memorandum, or by adopting a constitution. 
The type of documents varies from one company type to another. For instance, the company limited by guarantee gains legal personality through the constitution, which must be registered with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM).  
For a limited liability company, it is not necessary to adopt a constitution, but its founders can sign this document if they prefer. However, they do not have the obligation to register the said document with the SSM. 
This document provides information about many important aspects concerning the foundation of the company, and it can contain the following:
  • the activities carried out by the company;
  • the rights, privileges and obligations of the founders;
  • mandatory provisions stipulated by the Companies Act 2016;
  • other important matters that can be freely decided by the founders. 
An advantage of forming a company in Malaysia is that the company can be 100% foreign-owned. The company can also benefit from some grants, if 30% of the shares are owned by Malaysians; in this case, the status of the legal entity would turn into Bumiputera limited liability company

Steps for registering a company in Malaysia

At the Companies Commission of Malaysia, you need to file the required documents; since 2013, you have to search for the authenticity of the company's name and reserve it online. Our specialists can guide you through these procedures and take care of them in the shortest amount of time. 

The incorporation documents need to be prepared by the company's secretary and provide an official declaration of compliance. The next step is obtaining tax registration, company incorporation, company seal, statutory books and documents after filing the required papers with the Companies Commission of Malaysia.

Lastly, you have to pay the registration fee which depends on the share capital. This is also done at the Companies Commission. Some of the papers that need to be submitted are: the address of the newly registered company, the declaration of compliance and the approval of the company's name.

The company registration process in Malaysia should not take more than a week and our company formation specialists can help you with all the procedures. Our team covers a wide range of possibilities in assisting you with your business preparations. 

Is it necessary to apply for a business license in Malaysia? 

Yes, company formation in Malaysia involves the issuance of specific business licenses and permits. These can vary based on the field of activity carried out by the company. According to the Portal of the Government of Malaysia, businesses must apply for a license prior to starting their activities. 

In this country, there are 3 types of business licenses: general licenses, industry specific licenses and activity specific licenses. A general business license is the one most investors will need to obtain. This license is necessary during the process of company registration in Malaysia as it serves for the company registration itself, the registration of employees for social security, the Provident fund registration, etc. 

Business licenses can also be required for those who opt for offshore company setup, although the incorporation in offshore jurisdictions is usually simpler compared to onshore registration and in many cases, is exempt from licensing requirements. 

For more information about how to form a company in Malaysia or in other countries, please, do not hesitate to address us. Our team has the necessary expertise to represent clients in bank formalities – for instance, during the registration of an offshore bank account, so you can contact us for this service, too.