Registering a Business in Malaysia: What you Need to Know

If your business is going great guns and you have the Malaysian market in your sights as a form of business expansion, this article will be of tremendous help to you. We outline the various options when registering a business in Malaysia, while also offering useful advice.

As with any nation, Malaysia has its own unique set of laws and regulations for commerce and in order to make the right choices, here is a short summary of the various types of business registration in Malaysia.

  • RO – Representative Office – The RO business registration is perfect for foreign companies that are looking to do some extensive market research. This is a non-trading entity that is allowed to employ foreign professionals. While business activities are restricted, the entity does not have to comply with local laws and when you enlist the help of a leading Malaysian law firm, they can advise you accordingly. This enables a foreign owned business to explore the market possibilities and this registration can be available for up to 5 years. Things such as secretarial services and payroll can be outsourced to third-party companies that will ensure your business complies with the complex commercial laws in Malaysia.
  • PLC – Private Limited Company – If you want to trade in Malaysia, this limited liability option is ideal. This option supports working visas and can be owned 100% by foreigners and you are unrestricted regarding business activities. Of course, you enjoy limited liability and with the right legal firm on your side, the registration process will be completed in 4-6 weeks, with the legal expert instructing you on what to prepare. If you have already carried out your market research and are ready to commence trading, a PLC is the best way forward and with 3rd party companies, you can outsource services to 3rd party providers. Here are a few things to bear in mind when trading currency, stocks or shares.
  • FBO – Foreign Branch Office – In the event an international company wishes to establish a branch office in Malaysia, this would be the best route to take. This type of business registration requires a Resident Agent, which can be provided by the law firm that is processing the business registration. You also enjoy non-resident tax status and you can obtain long-term working visas for your foreign employees.

The Need for Expert Legal Advice

Malaysia has a very strong economy and when a foreigner wishes to register a new business, you are advised to engage the services of a local law firm with experience in this field. They have seen it all and after an initial discussion, the lawyer can make a recommendation as to the most suitable of the above options. If you are planning a visit to Malaysia in the near future, make sure you check the current entry requirements for Malaysia, which can change without notice.

Free Online Consultation

When making an enquiry with a law firm in Malaysia, most are only too happy to offer you a free 30-minute Zoom call, during which you can explain your needs and should you approve, the process of preparing documents can begin.

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