When it comes to opening a business in Malaysia, the very first step starts with registration. For the purpose of this article, it will concentrate on registering sole proprietorships, partnerships and corporations owned by Malaysians.
Take note that foreigners are not allowed to operate sole proprietorships and partnerships in Malaysia; those businesses are reserved for Malaysians only.
Two acts that cover business registration are the following:
- The Registration of Businesses Act 1956, which comes under the purvey of the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM), also known as Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (SSM) in Bahasa Malaysia. It covers sole proprietorships and partnerships (of not more than 20 partners) in Peninsular Malaysia and the Federal Territory.
- The Companies Act 1965, which covers companies limited by shares or unlimited companies.
CCM offers speedy one-hour registration for sole proprietorships/partnerships and one-day incorporations, provided you turn up at the CCM office in person with the required documents.
An alternative to sole proprietorships and companies is a Limited Liability Partnership, which falls under a different act: the Limited Liability Partnerships Act 2012. It combines the features of a partnership and a company, while offering the protections of limited liability. It can be formed by startups, small and medium enterprises or professionals such as lawyers, chartered accountants or company secretaries.
Registering a sole proprietorship or partnership
- Decide whether you will register the business under your name or a trade name. If using a trade name, you must register it beforehand and it must be approved, following certain guidelines.
- Upon approval of a trade name, you have three months from the date of approval to register your business. Failing that, you must reapply for approval of your trade name. You also need to register your business no later than 30 days from the date of commencement.
- Fill out Form A, the Business Registration Form, with the following information: business name, commencement date, principal place of business, address of the branches (if any), owner and partner(s) information, type of business along with a copy of the Partnership Agreement if applicable.
- Submit the form to the nearest CCM counter or online via the CCM website. The following documents must be included:
- Photocopy of owner and/or partner’s NRIC
- Permit, license or supporting letter for your business if applicable e.g. nurseries, which need a permit from the Department of Social Welfare
- Approval or supporting letter from relevant agency if required by the Registrar of Business
- Check the table of applicable fees on the CCM website which also has a list of downloadable forms, along with samples of completed forms and guides.
Check out our article on the pros and cons of Sole Proprietorship and Partnership
Registering a company
- A company must have a minimum of two subscribers to the shares of the company, a minimum of two directors, and a company secretary who can be either a subscriber or director
- A name search for the proposed company name must be made, by completing and submitting Form 13A (Request for Availability of Name) with a payment of RM30 for each name proposed. The name will be reserved for the company for three months from approval.
- The following documents must be lodged with CCM:
- Original copy of the Memorandum and Article of Association (stamped at the Inland Revenue Board’s stamp office for RM100)
- Form 48A (Statutory Declaration By A Director Or Promoter Before Appointment)
- Original copy of Form 13A
- A copy of the letter from SSM approving the name of the company
- A copy of the NRIC of each director and company secretary
The following fees must also be submitted according to the company’s authorized share capital.
|AUTHORISED SHARE CAPITAL (RM)||FEES (RM)|
|Up to 400,000||1,000|
|400,001 – 500,000||3,000|
|500,001 – 1 million||5,000|
|1,000,001 – 5 million||8,000|
|5,000,001 – 10 million||10,000|
|10,000,001 – 25 million||20,000|
|25,000,001 – 50 million||40,000|
|50,000,001 – 100 million||50,000|
|100,000,001 and above||70,000|
Note on forms:
Form 13A is the required form you need to fill to check on the availability/acceptability of your trade name, following the same guidelines as for sole proprietorships/partnerships.
For the Form 48A, it is a statutory declaration compulsory for directors or promoters, declaring they are not undischarged bankrupts or convicted/imprisoned for any offence, or if they are bankrupt – that they have special leave from a court.
Registering an LLP
- All applications for an LLP must be made through the official LLP portal. One officer of the company must be designated as an LLP Compliance Officer and registered with the website.
- A fee of RM500 will be charged to register as an LLP and the following details given when registering, by the compliance officer:
- Name of the proposed LLP
- General nature of the proposed business
- Proposed registered office
- Name and details of every partner involved in the LLP
- Name and details of the compliance officer(s) of the LLP
Name of the proposed LLP;
Whichever type of business you choose to set up, be sure you follow the guidelines stipulated so you won’t be wasting time reapplying, which can be a tedious and costly affair. With proper diligence, your business will be ready to go live in a matter of days so do pay attention to detail and do not hesitate to contact the CCM if you have enquiries.
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