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How to Start a Small Business in Malaysia

Feb 14, 2014 | Valerie Wong

When it comes to starting a small Malaysian business as a foreigner, you should first register it with the Malaysian government. There are many bureaucratic and legal issues to be taken care of, so take your time and brace yourself. Every would-be entrepreneur who wishes to have a Malaysian-based business should set up a commercial or industrial company with a startup capital of at least 10 times the economy's GNI (Gross National Income) per capita and a maximum of 50 employees. Essentially, the bigger your company is, the more interested the country in registering it on Malaysian soil, although small startups are also welcome. 

The Details Regarding Malaysian Company Registration 

The reason for the huge overhead is because it costs a lot to make sure your Malaysian startup is able to survive in the long term. You can start smaller and work your way up, but it's better to be prepared for some hard-hitting losses from the get go. At any rate, you should have your firm registered with the Social Security Organization (SOCSO) before anything else. All employees with a lower than RM 3,000 monthly wage should be registered by the employer. This is regardless of whether or not the worker is casual, temporary, or permanent. Various documentation and forms must be filled out. 

When registering a company in Malaysia, you cannot fill out forms online. Instead, you should download Form 1 or Employers' Registration Form and Form 2 or Registration Form for Employees at http://www.perkeso.gov.my. Afterwards, print it out and then go to the nearest registration counter to get your registration number. From there,you'll be able to have a single myCoID or company ID to register your firm with every last government organization and agency out there, thus simplifying the registration process. Don't forget to inform the Inland Revenue Board's Director-General of your employees and which of them are taxable and whatnot. 

The Finishing Touches to Your Business Registration 

As soon as you're registered with IRB as a validated Malaysia-based employer, you should give the board your taxable employee list. This list must be updated as much as possible. In order to receive stamps, you should file appropriate documents with the Companies Commission of Malaysia. You will pay a registration charge and file documents such as Form 48A, Form 13A, Form 6, and Form 9. For more information regarding the required forms, coordinate with your local city hall. It's also important to make a company seal for about RM 100 (it takes about three days to make these brand seals ready). 

Afterwards, you'll have to register your company with the Income Tax Department and the Employment Provident Fund. At any rate, by now, you should realize why it's important that your business, regardless of how big or small it is, has to have a minimum amount of funds and employees under your wing. The process of registering it is labor-intensive and the only way to justify having such a long-and-involved registration process is to have a small business brand with a viable consumer market readily available to you. Not to mention, you'll afterwards need to make business cards and logos for your firm. 

Are you planning to make a Malaysia-based business? Consult with Servcorp to help you get started. With the company's virtual office and corporate registration solutions, you should be able to make your Malaysia business dreams a reality in next to no time at all.