Can Foreigners Open Company in MY

A foreigner can register a Sdn Bhd, or private Limited company in Malaysia with 100% foreign ownership. However, that company must be in specific industries as dictated by the government.

The following are a few of the industries in which the Malaysian government is trying to encourage foreign investment.

  1. Education
  2. Petroleum, Oil and Gas
  3. Banking and Finance
  4. Tourism Outbound and Ticketing
  5. Agriculture

There are many challenges for a foreigner establishing a corporation in Malaysia, and below are the steps involved in doing so.

  • Planning of the nature of business you plan to conduct.
  • Identity of the corporate shareholders and directors
  • Three names that you would like to call your company to be checked for availability
  • Articles of incorporation submitted to the government in Malaysia
  • Issuance of a Registration Certificate

Before even thinking of registering your businesses, you must be registered with the company secretary of Malaysia, which is also known as SSM. You will need to submit a completed Business Registration Form (Form A). You will also need a copy of your identification card (or passport for foreigners), and prepare the necessary payment.

The Malaysia company registration documents you will be required to prepare include:

  • The proposed name(s) of your company
  • Primary business activities
  • Copy of all directors and shareholders identification card or passport
  • Latest residential proof of address
  • Minimum paid up capital information
  • Percentage of shareholding for each shareholder involved

Besides the incorporation documents listed above, Malaysia company incorporation requirements include:

  • Having a minimum of one subscriber to the company’s shares (Section 14 CA)
  • Having a minimum of one resident director (Section 122)
  • Having at least one company secretary in Malaysia.

Benefits of a Incorporating a Malaysia Company

  • Strategically located in South East Asia
  • Low start-up costs compared to Singapore
  • Lower Rental Rates than Singapore
  • Lower Wages as the average wages are RM1,100 per month which are far less than Singapore
  • No Double Taxation as Malaysia has 68 double taxation treaties with other countries
  • No Withholding Taxes on dividends paid outside of Malaysia.
  • No restrictions on Malaysian corporations upon repatriation of capital, profits, dividends, and royalties
  • Malaysia has given strong incentives to encourage business formation and capital investment

Malaysia’s KYC Requirements for Company Setup

As part of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act, the “Know Your Client” requirement mandates that all directors and shareholders must be present for the signing of the incorporation documents. If any director or shareholder is unable to be present, they must have another person acting as a witness. This witness must attest to the declaration form with the commissioner of oaths at their own state.

Once you have completed the registration process and opened a corporate bank account, there are a few more things left to be done. You need to get your business registered with SOCSO (Social Security Organisation). This is a legal requirement for all company types. SOCSO is a mandatory requirement to protect you and your employees from any work-related injuries which may occur.

Opening a Tax File with LHDN

It is also mandatory to open a tax file with the Income Tax Department. They are known locally as LHDN. Registering with the LHDN can either be done at the nearest office, or completed online.

If your business intends to hire employees, you will need to register with the Employees Provident Fund (EPF). This must be done within seven days of hiring the employee. You will need to submit a completed copy of KWSP Form 1. You will also need to submit your Business Registration Certificate. Other documents issued by the SSM must also be submitted at the nearest EPF office.

Depending on the industry you are in, certain industries require you to register with the Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF). This provides your employees with access to skills training and certification. These trainings are meant to help employees develop their work skills. Being registered with HRDF also gives you (the employer) access to apply for training grants. The grants can be used to subsidise the training cost for employees.