The Ultimate Guide to Malaysia

3 min read|Last Updated: February 7, 2024|
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Malaysia has much to offer to both locals and expats. From its bountiful business opportunities, scenic views, low tax rates, to diverse cultures, many investors and expats are choosing Malaysia as the destination to live, work, and set up a business.

Business in Malaysia

Ranked as the 4th largest in Southeast Asia, Malaysia’s economy is considered one of the freest economies in the Asia-Pacific region.

Malaysia allows foreigners to incorporate a company and solely own it so long as they have a legitimate residential address in Malaysia. This attracts many expats to incorporate or expand their business in Malaysia.

When it comes to digitalisation, Malaysia ranks second behind Singapore amongst the Southeast Asian countries. This fuels the rapid development of online businesses, especially during the pandemic.

Taxation in Malaysia

Taxation in Malaysia adopts a territorial principal of taxation, meaning that only income earned in Malaysia is taxable. Malaysia uses both progressive and flat rates for personal income tax, depending on the individual’s duration and type of work in the country.

The corporate tax standard rate is 24% in Malaysia, including for non-resident companies and small or medium sized enterprises above MYR 600,000.

As for Personal Income Tax, the rate varies from 0% to 28% depending on an individual’s income and residency status, similar to other ASEAN countries.

However, foreign individuals do have to assess their residency status as there is a difference between non-residents, tax residents and those exempted from paying taxes in Malaysia.

Malaysia Corporate Secretary Liyana

Education in Malaysia

Many international students opt to come to Malaysia to study as Malaysia has universities that are recognised worldwide and with some ranking high amongst prestigious overseas universities.

Since the schools that accept international students, offers curriculums such as IB and IGCSE, students from over 150 countries come to Malaysia to study. Eligible students for the student pass are allowed to bring dependents into Malaysia during their study period and issued a Multiple entry Visa to allow them to travel between Malaysia and their home country during their stay.

Lifestyle & Culture in Malaysia

Malaysia is a Muslim country and is one of the most multicultural countries in Southeast Asia. The population of 32.7 million people comprise of the Malays, Chinese, Indians, Indigenous people and expats.

The cuisine is heavily influenced by the locals – fusion food and traditional dishes from the various cultures are common and popular around Malaysia. Penang is also renowned for its food and is hailed as the Food Capital of Malaysia with its array of delicious food fusions.

Some unique practices adopted around Malaysia stems from Islamic practices such as saying ‘salam’ when greeting a senior, for example in workplaces, and dressing modestly.

Aside from the practices and multi-cultural society Malaysia is known for, it also offers a myriad number of attractions such as the rainforests, mountains and skyscrapers around the country.

Moving to Malaysia

With more expats moving to Malaysia and the rise of foreign-owned businesses, Malaysia has positioned itself as one of the best places in Southeast Asia.

Thinking of setting up your company in Malaysia? Reach out to us for free consultation on company incorporation and other corporate services today!


Is Malaysia welcoming of foreigners?2021-09-15T13:45:09+08:00

Malaysia is one of the best countries for expats, and many expats would agree with the statement. Foreigners feel that the people of Malaysia are extremely friendly and welcoming and Malaysia is ranked as one of the easiest places for expats to live.

Is there a significant expat community in Malaysia?2021-09-15T13:44:00+08:00

Yes. States like Penang and Kuala Lumpur are exceptionally popular amongst expats due to their attractiveness and way of life. Those states also offer places in international schools thus, a myriad number of international students and businesses choose to reside there.

What are the languages spoken in Malaysia?2021-09-15T13:43:29+08:00

Malaysia’s native and national language is Malay, but Mandarin and Tamil are spoken as those three languages are the first language for majority of the population. However, English is the official language of business and is widely spoken especially in the cities.

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