Investing in Malaysia 2022

A guidebook to investing in Malaysia

Crowe Global

Welcome to the Crowe Global Investing in Malaysia 2022 Guidebook.

This guide forms a part of the Investing in Asia Pacific 2022 series and provides a quick reference for those interested in investing in Malaysia. While it is not exhaustive, this guide aims to answer some of the key questions that may arise. When specific issues arise in practice, it will often be necessary to consider the relevant laws and regulations and to obtain appropriate professional advice.

The guidebook will cover five main topics as follows:

  • Establishing the business entity
  • Tax information
  • IPO quick facts
  • Human resource requirements
  • Withdrawal procedures



Establishing the business entity

Formation and costs 

Company / Branch
Company registration takes about five (5) to ten (10) days while its formation may take up to one (1) month. There are no special licences or approvals required except for certain sensitive industries e.g. financial institutions, telecommunications, etc.

The application cost of forming a company is in the region of MYR 3,000, while registration fees for foreign companies shall be payable in accordance to the share capital as set by the Company Commission of Malaysia not exceeding RM70,000. Annual maintenance fees for secretarial, tax and audit services for a dormant company are in the region of MYR 6,000.

Representative Office
A representative office requires registration with the Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (MIDA) and/or Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) and takes approximately two (2) months. The cost of registering a representative office is in the region of MYR 5,000. Annual maintenance fees are minimal as a representative office does not require secretarial, tax or audit services.

Investment incentives 


  • Reinvestment allowance – no prior approval required.
  • Pioneer status or Investment Tax Allowance for promoted products or promoted industries – prior approval required from the MIDA and takes to six (6) weeks from the date of complete information received.
  • MSC Malaysia (formerly Multimedia Super Corridor) status – prior approval required from the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation [formerly Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC)] and takes about (3) to six (6) months.

Reinvestment allowance – no prior approval required.

Representative Office
Representative offices are not allowed to do business in Malaysia.

Foreign ownership restrictions 

Generally, no foreign ownership restriction except for certain sectors e.g. financial services, wholesale and distributive trade, education, communications and multimedia, and energy supply, etc.

Branch / Representative Office
No restriction on foreign ownership.

Work permits and visas 

Work permits are allowed for key posts in companies approved by the MIDA. The application takes about three (3) months.

Work permits are only allowed if the foreign company can prove that local staff are not able to perform the work of the foreigner.

Representative Office
Work permits are only allowed if the foreign company can prove that local staff are not able to perform the work of the foreigner. For rep office, at least one (1) work permit will usually be allowed.

Accounting standards and audit requirements 


  • Companies have to follow either one (1) of the two (2) accounting frameworks in Malaysia; Malaysian Financial Reporting Standards (“MFRSs”) or Malaysian Private Entities Reporting Standard (“MPERS”). MFRSs are equivalent to IFRSs in all material aspects.
  • All companies incorporated under the Malaysian Companies Act require an annual audit except for private companies with revenue less than MYR 100,000 and total assets value less than MYR 300,000 and not more than five (5) employees in the current and the past two (2) financial years.


  • Branches have to follow either MFRSs or MPERS.
  • All branches require an annual audit with similar audit exemption criteria of private companies as stated above.

Representative Office

  • Representative offices are not required by law to be audited.
Residential directors / promoters requirements 

Company / Branch / Representative Office
Minimum of one (1) director for private company or two (2) directors for public company who are residents in Malaysia.

Foreign ownership over tangible assets 

Company / Branch / Representative Office

  • Foreign owned companies are not allowed to own certain properties such as those built on Malay Reserve Land.
  • Acquisition of property by foreign interests has to be registered under a local company and will be subjected to conditions pertaining to equity, employment, capital and land redevelopment.
  • Acquisition of agricultural land is only allowed under certain conditions.
  • Companies that own properties which are worth more than MYR 20 mil will be subject to a 30% Bumiputera shareholding requirement.


Country quirks
Companies are the most common form of entity for doing business in Malaysia.

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