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A Comprehensive Guide to Company Registration in Malaysia

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A Comprehensive Guide to Company Registration in Malaysia


A Comprehensive Guide to Company Registration in Malaysia

This detailed guide provides a step-by-step breakdown of the process for registering a company in Malaysia. It caters to both individuals seeking to understand the process themselves and those who might prefer professional assistance from CCIG.

Understanding the Process

There are three primary stages involved in registering a company in Malaysia:

  1. Registration Preparation: This initial stage involves crucial decisions regarding your company structure, name selection, appointment of officers, and securing a registered address.
  2. Registration: Once you’ve completed the preparation stage, it’s time to formally register your company with the relevant authorities in Malaysia. This involves submitting the necessary paperwork.
  3. Post-Registration: This final stage focuses on fulfilling essential post-registration requirements, such as opening a corporate bank account, obtaining business licenses, registering for employee provident funds, and determining your tax obligations.

Step-by-Step Guide to Malaysia

1. Registration Preparation

  • Choosing a Business Structure: The first step involves selecting the most suitable business entity type for your company. This could be a sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability partnership, private limited company, public limited company, or a branch/representative/subsidiary office, depending on your specific needs.
  • Company Name Selection: Choose a unique and appropriate name for your company. Acclime can assist you with a company name search to ensure availability. The Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) has specific guidelines for company names, which include adhering to proper spelling and grammar, avoiding offensive or religious connotations, and refraining from using overly generic terms.
  • Company Officers and Shares: Determine the number of directors (minimum: 1) and shareholders (minimum: 1) for your company. A company secretary (minimum: 1) who is a licensed professional is also required. Each director must be at least 18 years old and a natural person. Shareholders can be individuals or corporations and must also be 18 or older (limited to 50 for private limited companies).
  • Registered Address: You’ll need a physical address in Malaysia to serve as your company’s registered office for receiving official communication. P.O. boxes are not permitted.
  • Share Capital: The minimum share capital requirement is RM 1.

2. Registration

Once you’ve completed the preparation stage, you can proceed with formally registering your company with the SSM. This involves submitting the following documents:

  • Constitution (optional)
  • Declaration by a director or promoter before appointment
  • Declaration of compliance
  • Photocopy of each director’s identity card

3. Post-Registration in Malaysia

After successfully registering your company, you’ll need to fulfill several post-registration requirements:

  • Opening a Corporate Bank Account: Choose a suitable bank and open a dedicated corporate bank account for your business transactions.
  • Obtaining Business Licenses and Permits: Depending on your industry and business activities, you may need to acquire specific licenses and permits. These generally fall under three categories: general licenses (company registration, income tax registration, etc.), sector/industry-specific licenses, and activity-specific licenses.
  • Determining Tax Obligations: Understanding your tax obligations is crucial. These will vary based on factors like scope of charge, exemptions, and deductions. Malaysia generally does not tax international sales, with some exceptions. The current corporate tax rate is 24% for both residents and non-residents.
  • Appointing Auditors: Every company requires an appointed auditor before the first annual general meeting.
  • Registering for Employee Provident Fund (EPF): As an employer, you’ll need to register with the EPF and subsequently register your employees for contributions.

Choose the Right Entity for Your Expansion Goals

We guide you in selecting the legal structure that aligns with your business model, industry, objectives, and level of control desired. The common options include:

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Establishing a Company in Malaysia: Timeline

Typically, registering a company in Malaysia takes between 5 and 10 working days. However, this timeframe can be influenced by several factors:

  • Company Name Selection: Choosing a unique and available name that complies with regulations can impact the timeline.
  • Documentation Accuracy: Ensure all submitted documents are complete and accurate to avoid delays due to revisions.
  • Company Structure Complexity: Simpler structures like sole proprietorships might be quicker to establish than Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs).
  • Corporate Bank Account: Opening a business bank account can add time depending on the bank’s processing procedures.

For a smoother and potentially faster registration, consider using CCIG that provider who can guide you through the process.

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Choosing a Business Structure in Malaysia

There are several options for structuring your business in Malaysia, each with its own advantages and considerations. Here’s a breakdown of the most common types:

  • Sole Proprietorship: Simplest structure, ideal for small businesses with one owner. However, the owner has unlimited liability for the business’s debts.
  • Partnership: Two or more people co-own and manage the business. Partners share profits and losses, and also have unlimited liability.
  • Limited Liability Partnership (LLP): Similar to a partnership, but with limited liability protection for the partners. Their personal assets are shielded from business debts.
  • Private Limited Company (Sdn Bhd): Most popular choice for foreign investors. Offers limited liability and can have one or more shareholders. Not publicly traded.
  • Public Limited Company (Bhd): Similar to Sdn Bhd, but can raise capital by selling shares to the public. Listed on the stock exchange.
  • Foreign Branch/Representative Office: Established by a foreign company to conduct limited activities in Malaysia. They are not separate legal entities.
  • Subsidiary Company: Separate legal entity from its parent company (usually a foreign company) but wholly owned by it. Offers limited liability.

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Foreign Company Registration in Malaysia

The process for registering a foreign company in Malaysia might have different requirements. For a comprehensive guide on foreign company registration options, refer to our separate resource.

Starting and Managing Your Business in Malaysia

We offer an in-depth guide that covers everything you need to know about establishing and running a successful business in Malaysia. This guide will delve deeper into legalities, regulations, and other important aspects.

Streamlined Process for Malaysia Company Formation

Launch Your Entity in Malaysian Company & Bank Account

Our specialized expertise allows us to guide you through a streamlined incorporation process in Malaysia.

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Most banks in Malaysia process company bank accounts. Here are some popular options:

  • Big Four Banks: These include Maybank, CIMB, Public Bank, and RHB Bank. They offer widespread reach and a variety of business banking services.
  • Foreign Banks: HSBC, UOB, Citibank, and Standard Chartered Bank are some established foreign banks with a presence in Malaysia, catering to international business needs.

Finding the Right Bank

The best bank for your company depends on factors like:

  • Your Business Needs: Consider features like online banking, international transactions, or specialized services for your industry.
  • Account Fees: Compare monthly maintenance charges, transaction fees, and minimum balance requirements.
  • Branch Network: Assess the bank’s branch network and accessibility for your business location.

General Steps to Open a Company Bank Account

While the specific requirements may vary slightly between banks, here’s a general process:

  1. Research and Choose a Bank: Compare options based on your needs and preferences.
  2. Gather Documents: This typically includes company registration documents, board resolutions, identification for signatories, and other bank-specific requirements.
  3. Contact the Bank: Schedule an appointment with a business banking officer to discuss your needs and initiate the application process.
  4. Complete the Application: Fill out the bank’s application forms and submit them along with the required documents.
  5. Await Approval: The bank will review your application and notify you of their decision.

Next Steps

  • Contact the Banks Directly: Reach out to the banks you’re interested in to get the most current information on their business account offerings and requirements. Many banks have information on their websites about business banking.
  • Consider a Corporate Services Provider: These professionals can assist you with navigating the bank account opening process and company registration in Malaysia.

The cost to set up a company in Malaysia for foreigners involves two main categories:

Government Fees:

  • Company Registration Fee: This is a flat fee of MYR 1,000 (around USD $238) payable to the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) for registering a private limited company (Sdn Bhd), the most common choice for foreign investors. The fee might be lower if the company doesn’t require share capital.

Additional Costs:

  • Name Search Fee: There’s a small fee, typically around MYR 30 (around USD $7), to check the availability of your desired company name.
  • Professional Fees: Engaging a corporate services provider can significantly simplify the process. Their fees vary depending on the complexity of your setup and the level of service provided. Expect a range of MYR 2,500 to MYR 4,000 (around USD $595 to USD $952).
  • Other Potential Costs: These could include opening a corporate bank account (varies by bank), postage, and any legal or accounting fees needed.

Important Considerations:

  • Paid-Up Capital: While Malaysia doesn’t require a minimum paid-up capital for company registration, some industries might have requirements. Additionally, if you plan to hire foreign workers, a minimum paid-up capital amount might be necessary.
  • Business License: Depending on your industry, you might need additional business licenses which incur separate fees.

Overall Cost Estimate:

The estimate for setting up a basic Malaysian company for foreigners can range from MYR 3,830 to MYR 5,030 (around USD $913 to USD $1,197). This would include government fees, a basic corporate service package, and name search.

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