As a business owner, it is important that you obtain a valid business registration number upon your company incorporation. This number is acquired once your application under the SSM has been approved.

Obtaining a Business Registration Number in Malaysia

Malaysia is known to be one of the top destinations in the world to do business, owing to its steady economic growth which welcomes investment from business owners from around the globe. The country is also strategically placed and the affordable living with abundance of business investment opportunities has also drawn in foreigners to start a business here.

Unlike other countries in the Asia region, there are not many restrictions or conditions imposed by the government for foreign ownership of companies. If you are a foreigner and thinking of making your first foray into the business world, it is vital that you have a deep understanding of the business environment, limitations and legalities involved in starting a business here.

Once you have decided to set up a company here, you will need to go through the registration process and although the process might seem easy, a comprehensive step by step guide is important to ensure that you are eligible to start running your business.

What is Business Registration Number?

Every company in Malaysia has a business registration number. Usually, business registration numbers are also regarded as company registration numbers. This business registration numbers are set of numbers used to identify a company and this number will be printed on the company’s certificate of incorporation.

Do note that a business registration number is a set of number which is unique to the business it is registered to, and there are no possibilities for 2 businesses to have a same business registration number.

Broadly, there are few different types of business entities, which include public liability companies, private limited companies, and partnerships type of companies. These companies have only one thing in common, which is as a legally registered business, they will each have their own Malaysia business registration number.

The business registration number is obtained by registering the company at the Companies Commission of Malaysia, or locally known as Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (SSM).

Significance of Business Registration Number

A business registration number is a unique combination of numbers and serves as a crucial element to the business because it is what the company identity is going to be known by. This business registration number is also a proof that your company has been legally registered and is indeed an incorporated entity. Consequently, this reinforces the business’s reputation among the people.

Not only limited to brick and mortar businesses, in fact, a business registration number is also needed for e-commerce businesses. This means that as long as your business is a registered legal entity, you will have a business registration number.

For an online business, the business registration number will need to be incorporated into their website. This move is imposed by the Malaysia Consumer Protection Regulations 2012 which means that is it compulsory that you ensure your business does have a business registration number even though you do not have a physical office.

Keep in mind that a business registration number is not the same as company tax number. They are 2 different things where the business registration number will be used to identify your business in all legal matters and business dealings, whereas a company tax number is used when audits and income tax filings are performed every year. A company tax number is known as unique taxpayer references.

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

Process of Company Registration

To obtain this business registration number, the first step is to register your company. There are few steps involved in this and after completing all steps, only then you will acquire the business registration number and you may kick start your business thereafter.

Before going ahead with the registration process, you will need to determine the exact scope of your company’s business and identify if you are legally permitted to explore the fields of your chosen business. This is because there are industries which are restricted if you have any foreign involvement in your company.

Before you start with the registration, there are several important documents and details you should gather which will be required in the due process. This include the residential addresses of shareholders and directors, relevant documents which confirm the identity as well as the structure of share capital.

Next, you will need to come up with a name for the company. Once the name gets approved, you can then proceed to submit the prepared documentation. Failure to submit all the relevant documents correctly may result you in delays. The reviewing is done by the SSM authorities and if your documentation and information are complete and approved, you will then be given the company registration certificate, which allows you to start operating your company with a legal entity status in Malaysia.

In order to register the company, you will need to appoint a company secretary to do it for you. The steps involved in the registration procedure is outlined in detail as below.

  • Name search and reservation 

A company’s name is the most unique way to associate your business image with your customers emotionally and is the entry point to your business. A good business name will differentiate your business and your competitors instantly.  Hence, it is important that you strike a right tone with your business’ name as every business has a brand image, and brands are literally built on names.

A name search must be carried out to determine whether the proposed name for your company is available for registration. To apply for the name search, you will need to submit a completed Form 13A of the Companies Act (Request for Availability of Name) to Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (Companies Commission of Malaysia otherwise known as SSM) and RM30 is to be paid as the fee for each name applied. Once your company name is approved by the SSM, it will be in reserve for 3 months following the approval date. This name search can be done online via the My CoID online portal

  • Lodgement of registration documents

The registration documents must then be submitted to the SSM within 3 months following the name approval. If the documents are not submitted within the stipulated time, a new Application of Name Search must be lodged.  The registration documents include:

1) Memorandum and Article of Association (MAA)

  • An original copy of the MAA must be notarized. The first directors and secretaries must be named in the memorandum, and all shareholders are required to sign the document in front of a witness.
  • If the filing is for private limited company (Sdn Bhd), the articles of association should also include:
  1. Restrictions on rights to transfer shares
  2. Limitations on the number of members (must not exceed 50)
  3. Prohibition of any member of the public to acquire shares
  4. Prohibition of any member of the public to deposit money with thecompany

2) Form 48A, Statutory Declaration by a Director or Promoter Before Appointment

  • The director is required to declare under oath that they are not bankrupt and have not been convicted or imprisoned for any offences.

3) Form 6, Declaration of Compliance

  • A declaration that states all of the Companies Act requirements have been met and signed by the company secretary, as named in the MAA.

4) Original copy of Form 13A

5) A copy of the letter from SSM approving the company name

6) A copy of the ID for each director and secretary

After all the necessary documents has been lodged, the authorities will then review your application and once the application is approved, your company will be issued the Certificate of Incorporation by SSM and your business registration number will be stated on it.

Post Incorporation

Nevertheless, the process does not end here as having a Business Registration Certificate alone is not enough. Here are other important things you need to do as a business owner once you have successfully obtained your business incorporation certification:

  1. Opening a bank account-All Sdn Bhd companies are mandated by the law to have a Goods and Services tax (GST) number and can only be obtained by a company with a bank account. The bank account is required to effect payments, share issuance, fees and deposits which usually requires local currency.
  2. Registration of GST number – The GST is obtained from the Royal Malaysian Customs of Malaysia and it is charged on:
  1. Any goods and services produced and sold in Malaysia except any zero-rated items
  2. All goods imported into Malaysia except zero rated items. The Royal Malaysia Customs, Excise Department and the Director of the General of Customs are the authorities who oversee the compliance with GST regulations.
  1. Registration of income tax and PAYE-The Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia (LHDN) is the main revenue collecting agency of the Ministry of Finance and handles the registration all taxpayers. The registration can be done via online using the MyCoID portal number on LHDN official portal or can be done in person.
  1. Registration of Employees Provident Fund (EPF) – All employer in Malaysia must register with the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) within 7 days from the first hiring of an employee.
  2. Registration of social security – Every employer in Malaysia must register for social security for their employees and this can be done at the Social Security Organization (SOCSO/Perkeso).