MY Business Guide

Home to a multicultural society and a member of the ASEAN nations, Malaysia is among the world’s top business locations. Several international companies have already called Malaysia home, which includes the likes of Tesco, Aberdeen Allied Pickfords, Debenhams, Dyson, Microsoft, Intel, Panasonic, Continental, Honda, Google and more.

Why Malaysia Is the Easiest Place to Start Doing Business

Foreigners have been eager to setup a business in Malaysia for years. As the 3rd largest economy in the Southeast Asia region, the benefits of registering a business in Malaysia are compelling enough to continuously draw investors in each year.

Some advantages to doing Business in Malaysia include: 

  • It’s very strategic location in proximity with other major economies, including Singapore and Hong Kong.
  • Its well-developed infrastructure and transportation connectivity.
  • It is home to an educated workforce, so there’s no shortage of finding the right talent to fit the right roles.
  • It is among the top worldwide locations for offshore manufacturing. It is also a prime location for service-based operations.
  • It has a financial structure that is well developed.
  • It is a very cost-effective gateway which opens doors for investors to venture into other Asian markets.
  • English is widely used in business, making international transactions easy.
  • It is the 6th friendliest place in the world to do business (according to the World Bank).
  • Less red tape which needs to be dealt with.

Another reason why Malaysia is the easiest place to start doing business is its regulations when it comes to how foreigners can partake in the local business operations. In comparison to a lot of other countries, Malaysia’s regulations are much easier. If foreigners want to establish a business in Asia, Malaysia is the place to do it.

The Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) is the governing body responsible for overseeing businesses in Malaysia. Anyone who wants to register a company must go through them (even small businesses). SSM will require your registration documents/incorporation documents, along with the registration fees which must be paid. The details of the directors and shareholders must also be provided. Your Company Secretary will be responsible for handling your compliance requirements. Once successfully incorporated, you will be issued with a certificate of incorporation, after which you may proceed to setup your bank account.

Want to Start business in Singapore
Want to Start business in Singapore

Factors to Consider When Starting a Business in Malaysia

As eager as you may be to launch your business in Malaysia, you must stop and ask yourself if you’ve covered all your bases just yet. Have you paused to ask yourself why you’re choosing Malaysia as your preferred business destination? If your chosen business fulfilling a local demand or need?

Prior to incorporating a company in Malaysia, you need to complete the following action steps: 

  • Have You Prepared a Business Plan? – One of the most crucial elements in the initial phases of starting a business is having a business plan. This isn’t just going to be the framework which is going to provide an outline of how to manage your business. It is the foundation on which you’re building your business. If you were building a house, the business plan would be the bricks which you need. Piece by piece, you join this bricks together until they form a strong, sturdy structure you can call home. Similarly, step by step, your business plan is going to help you piece together all the details that you need to eventually build a successful business. Don’t have a business plan just yet? Time to get that done first.
  • Have You Done Your Due Diligence? – If you haven’t lived or grown up in Malaysia, you need to get to know Malaysia. Spending as much time doing research before launching your business is one of the best investments of you time. Yes, it may take a long time, but it will be worth the wait. Those who are armed with as much information and detail as possible are the businesses who will succeed when others fail. If you’ve got an idea of what products or services you would like to sell, research the local market and see if there’s enough demand for it. What funding options (if any) are going to be available should your business need it?
  • What Business Can Foreigners Be Involved In? – While Malaysia is certainly welcoming towards foreign investors, there are still rules and regulations that must be complied with. There are some restriction and limitations which a foreigner will encounter. For example, foreigners can incorporate a private limited company (Sendirian Berhad or Sdn Bhd), a branch office or even a representative office in Malaysia. However, they will not be able to incorporate a sole proprietorship company and partnership company in Malaysia. If you hold a Permanent Residency (PR), only then will the latter two options be available. Whether you choose to incorporate a foreign-owned or locally incorporated Malaysian company, there is one thing that’s for sure. They type of business entity you choose will determine your tax structure and requirements for compliance. Private limited companies are the preferred option because of the limited liability involved.
  • Have You Got the Necessary Funds? – What is your source of funding going to be? Some entrepreneurs start their business with their own savings, some with the assistance of family or friends. Others take loans or other available financing options. This is one reason why doing your due diligence is so important. If you’re unable to fund your business on your own, you must source the next available option.
  • You Must Be Self-Motivated – This is an important trait to have for anyone who is starting a business. Being self-motivated is the drive that is going to power you to the finish line. It will help you make your mission and vision a reality. It will help you overcome every challenge you’re going to face along the road to success. Most importantly, it is the driving force that gets you out of bed each morning and ready to run your business.

Need More Advice as A Foreigner Looking to Start a Business in Malaysia?

Taking on the challenge of starting a new business in Malaysia can be exciting. You never know what opportunity is going to emerge, or what doors may open along the way. As such, you want to ensure that you’re as well-prepared as you can be.

Remember, not only is Malaysia a dynamic business environment, it is a multiracial and multicultural country too. Comprising of the three main races (Malays, Chinese and Indians), it is a country rich with culture. These cultures are also observed in the work places, and businesses who operate in Malaysia must take these considerations into account:

  • Public Holidays – Along with the four major public holidays which take place annually (Christmas, Chinese New Year, Hari Raya and Deepavali), Malaysia has several other public holidays which fall throughout various times of the year. It is important to take note of these dates to better manage business operations.
  • Ramadhan Period – Being home to the largest Muslim population in the region after Indonesia, Ramadhan can have an impact on business operations. It is important for employers to be flexible with work hours during this month, as many employees leave earlier during the fasting month. A change in work hours may sometimes be necessary to accommodate this need.
  • Scheduling Business Meetings –In Malaysia, scheduling business meetings on Fridays requires some careful planning. Friday is reserved for the local Muslims to perform their prayers in the afternoon, and the locals generally take longer lunch breaks to accommodate this need.

Need Professional Help?

Starting a business in Malaysia is even easier with the experts on your team. Enlisting the help of Paul Hype Page can guarantee one thing – all your business needs will be taken care of. We are Malaysia and Singapore’s number one incorporation experts, and we will ensure your Malaysia company registration process is handle efficiently and professionally from start to finish. Ready for your new Malaysian venture? Contact us now to find out more.