Setting up a Company in Malaysia

Malaysia Payroll

So, you have just won a project in Malaysia, a country you have never worked in before (congratulations!).  Now you need to hit the ground running on that new project, but you haven’t got a clue where to get started?  Well, stay calm, we have you covered. 


The obvious solution is, I need to set up a new office.  It’s tough though and there is a lot you need to think about. But like I said, we have you covered.  Here is a list of questions you need to think about before starting the process.

  • Registering a local entity in Malaysia 

    • Have I got a Malaysian business plan?
    • Who will be my Malaysian director?
  • Sourcing office space and infrastructure in Malaysia 

    • Where should I have my office in Malaysia?
    • Who is going to attend the property viewings in Malaysia?
    • Who is going to furnish the office?
    • What length tenancy agreement would I like?
  • Recruiting additional staff locally in Malaysia 

    • Would I like to recruit additional local staff?
    • How I am going to source local staff?
    • Who is going to organise the interviewing process?
    • What are our selling points as an employer?
  • Registering with immigration for obtaining visas for your existing expat staff in Malaysia 

    • Which part of Malaysia do I need visas for?
    • Who do I register visas with in Malaysia?
    • How do I secure them?
    • How long does it take to obtain visas in Malaysia?
    • How much do visas cost in Malaysia?
  • Compliant Payroll in Malaysia 

    • how do I register for taxes in Malaysia?
    • how do I pay the taxes in Malaysia?
    • when do I pay taxes in Malaysia?
    • how much do I pay?
    • How do I file tax returns in Malaysia?

Told you there were lots of questions. And there are many more that you would need to answer to get your company set up in Malaysia.


Ultimately, if your plans in Malaysia are long term then there is no getting around this. All these hoops will need jumping through to get your office in Malaysia fully set up.    

Do you need to worry about this all right away though or can you just focus on getting your project started?

Good news is no, no you don’t need to worry about all this now. 

Wouldn’t it make more sense to partner with a company that knows the answers to all of these questions already and can take that headache away from you?

Of course it does.

If you partner with an established local company, they will:  

  • already be a local entity
  • Already have office space
  • Already be registered with the relevant authorities
  • Already have local staff meaning they can easily obtain additional immigration quotas
  • Will be able to instantly set up your employees for compliant payroll

There would of course be some additional costs associated with this route but it allows you to enter the country and hit the ground running on that new project.  The sooner you start delivering to your client the sooner they start paying your bills. 


 To answer the initial question – How do I set up a Company in Malaysia?  the logical option if you are working on a single project is, don’t.  Use a partner company who can take all the hassle away from you and allow you to focus on doing what you do best – delivering to your clients. 

If the project you have won will require you to have a permanent and long-term presence in country, then setting up a company / office in Malaysia is a must.  Do your research and get the answers to the questions mentioned previously.  With this information you will be well prepared to start the process and it will be slightly less troublesome. 

Once you have armed yourself with this information you will need to register your company with the Companies Commission on Malaysia (SSM).  This process will involve your Malaysian director completing and signing the relevant registration forms and then submitting them to the commission along with paying the required fees.  For a more in depth guide to this we recommend visiting the SSM website .

Whichever route you decide to go down, you will need to get people into the country and pay them. For more information about how to set up Payroll and Tax in Malaysia, check out our free Guide. 

For more information check out our Free Full Malaysia Payroll and Tax Guide or our article How long does it take to get a visa in Malaysia.

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