Things to Consider When Setting Up Business in Malaysia

If you are thinking about setting up a business in Malaysia then you will want to know a few of the basics with regards the local policies and procedures. Each Country has a different set of rules and, unless you already run a business or, are a professional that helps people to set companies up, then you might be in the know, here are a few things to get you started;

Research and get help from local professionals 

It is possible to get things done on your own, however, certain applications, filings, or submissions may be difficult to complete without the assistance of local professionals. Finding and acquiring a company location, work visas and permits from the immigration department, filing documents with state land offices for property connected affairs, and tax related registrations are all things you may need to discuss.

You’ll also find that there isn’t much by the way of English translation with things like official documents, they are all written in the Malaysian national language (Bahasa Malaysia) and, it is the default language used in the government offices. Although it’s always important to learn the local language, as a foreigner you may struggle if you try doing things by yourself.

As such, you will, at the very least want to employ the services of accountants, auditors, tax agents, lawyers, work permit & visa agents, property agents and intellectual rights agents to protect your interests.You should find that your accountant can put you in touch with most other professionals, hopefully saving you some time and money in the process.

Check out any Industry Specific Licences & Requirements that your business may need

Over the last decade or so, Malaysia has made SSM business registration much easier for foreigners to do, although, you need to be aware that some industries aren’t accessible at present due to national protection policies. Here are some examples of industries which require specific licences and conditions; oil & gas services, warehousing and freight, land transportation services, wholesale & retail trade, tour operators, some restaurants or cafes, and franchises.

Your legal representative and accountant should be able to help you get to grips the local restrictions and policies,but you should find out at the earliest possible chance if your business will be restricted by and of the following;  

  • Specific licences or conditions,
  • Check out restrictions on foreign ownership
  • There may be fees that may need to be paid to the local authorities
  • Your business may need to include a native person as a director.

Some businesses may have to adhere to all of the above, others may not, so make sure you understand what you are liable for, it might shape your decisions moving forward.

Setting up a bank account

One of the first things that needs to be done is to open an individual or a company bank account locally, in order to make payments, deposits, and fees that require the local currency. It’s a good idea to check with local or international banks ahead of time to find out what documentation, requirements, and time it takes to open an account.Having a local bank account may also make it possible for you to apply for other business-related services or, at the very least, make it a whole load easier.

Acquire a business premises 

A physical premise or mailing address within Malaysia, whether rented or purchased, virtual office, or even a permanent residence address, is sometimes needed in order to progress with some applications for things like bank accounts, company formation, licenses, and work permits, among other things. You may wish to explore renting serviced offices or co-working spaces, which are frequently located in commercial centres, they offer a quick and economical ‘temporary company address’ before committing to a longer-term leasing or property purchase.

Choosing a company name

Malaysia has a strong legislative framework for intellectual property registration and protection, you will want toconduct preliminary trademark searches online for your planned business name to ensure that it is not already registered or in use by third parties in your area. This step could save you from having to rethink your company’s name or logo so, you may wish to employ the services of a professional to help you with the name, branding and logo, it is after all what people tend to remember, apart from the service, of course.

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