Do I Need a License to Operate Business in Malaysia

Yes, business licenses are a necessary requirement to register a company in Malaysia. The licensing requirements must be complied with before you can legally commence business. You may either require a general license, industry/sector specific license or activity license. It would depend on the nature of your business.  

About General Licenses in Malaysia

General licenses are applicable once a foreigner has decided to start a business in Malaysia. Sector or industry-specific licenses are unique to a certain industry or sector only. These sectors are specified by the government. Examples of these sectors or industries include manufacturing, wholesale, retail and trade, telecommunications, broadcasting, banking and construction.  

About Activity Specific Licenses in Malaysia

Activity specific licenses are required to help regulate a certain activity. This license type could be applicable to either one or more industries and sectors. Foreign investors must comply with the set of specific guidelines outlined by the license. These guidelines are in place to protect the interest of the locals, environment, worker safety, and the public. Examples of these licenses include sales and tax license building plan approvals.  

What Are Business Premise Licenses?

A business will need to apply for a Business Premises licenses. This license requirement may vary, depending on the local and respective state authority. A company intending to operate as a private employment agency must have an Employment Agency License from the Ministry of Human Resources Malaysia. To apply for a Business Premise License, you will need to prepare the following documentation: 

  • A copy of the passport or identity card of any one of the company directors. 
  • A copy of your Certificate of Incorporation. 
  • A copy of the directors’, managers’ or secretaries Return of Particulars 
  • Images of your business premise (including interior) 
  • Sample of your business signboard (if applicable) 

The above is applicable for companies. Limited Liability Partnerships on the other hand, must provide: 

  • A copy of your Certificate of Registration 
  • A copy of your business profile (e-SSM copy) 
  • Images of your business premise (including interior) 
  • A copy of the passport or identity card of any one of the company directors. 
  • Sample of your business signboard (if applicable) 

 

Partnerships and sole-proprietorship business entities on the other hand, must provide the following documentation: 

  • A copy of the Registration of Business Certificate 
  • A copy of your business profile (e-SSM copy) 
  • Images of your business premise (including interior) 
  • A copy of the passport or identity card of any one of the company directors. 
  • Sample of your business signboard (if applicable) 

 

About WRT Licenses in Malaysia

Foreign owned companies must apply for a WRT (Whole Retail Trade) license too. This can be obtained from the Ministry of Trade Cooperative and Consumerism Malaysia. Businesses that require this license are restaurants, franchises, services, consultancy, trading, retail and distributive trades. A WRT license has a validity period of 2 years. Renewal applications must be lodged 3 months before the expiration date. To apply for the license, the following documents must be provided: 

  • A copy of the Certificate of Incorporation 
  • A copy of the directors’, managers’ or secretaries Return of Particulars 
  • A copy of the tax registration confirmation letter 
  • A copy of your Company Profile from the SSM 
  • A copy of the relevant license, including validity period from the local authority 
  • A copy of the documents from customs clearance 
  • Images of the business premise 
  • Images of the business products 
  • Copy of your tenancy agreement 
  • Copy of your financial statements (audited) 
  • Copies of any approval letters and licenses related to your business.  
  • Copy of the food and drinks menu (applicable for restaurants)