Registering your business (sole proprietorship & partnership) in Malaysia

With the advent of the Internet, entrepreneurship in Malaysia has been steadily on the rise – to the extent that some don’t even know, but they are already business owners! Take for instance, the onslaught of girls who sell clothes via their blogs, or those who blog and make money from ads or advertorials – are they not entrepreneurs?

Several weeks ago, I accompanied 3 friends who were starting their respective businesses (2 providing IT consulting services, and 1 who sells products via her blog and the lowyat.net forum) to the Registrar of Businesses. They wanted to formalize their business operations and register their respective enterprises. Initially, there were mixed reactions to the process as one of them had tried to do it online, but failed, due to the convoluted process. They also started off with a negative perception towards government departments and their lack of processes!

Anyhow, the three of us trooped over to KL Sentral, as the new headquarters for the Companies Commission of Malaysia (or better known in Malay as Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia, SSM) is based there now. We were prepared to spend a few hours in queue, filling in forms, waiting and waiting some more.

Since witnessing it, I thought of sharing with you the step-by-step process on how to set up a sole proprietorship or partnership.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED.

Your identity card, money and a small bit of patience.

ONE.

Head over to Menara SSM@Sentral (No. 7 Jalan Stesen Sentral 5, Kuala Lumpur Sentral, 50623 Kuala Lumpur) and go on up the escalator to the first floor. Other branches nationwide are listed here. It’s a fairly small area with not that many counters, but they are surely efficient!

TWO.

Get a number, then ask for Form A from Counter 7 or 8. You can download a sample of this form here. Complete your form and wait for the number to be called.

THREE.

Submit your form and make payment. The fees are RM30 if you are registering a sole proprietorship based on the name as per your Identity Card. If you’d like to register a sole proprietorship or partnership with a name you’ve spent days choosing, then the fees will be RM60. An additional RM10 is charged to get a print-out of the business registration.

* These fees are for registration for a year. Yearly renewal is RM30 and RM60 respectively.
* They seemingly accept Visa, Mastercard and American Express cards, but don’t count on it. It was not functional when were there.

FOUR.

Now, put that little bit of patience to good use. When they call your name, or new business, confirm that all details are accurate, then, you may leave.

Honestly, the process is amazingly quick. The promise is that the process will not take longer than 1 hour. We were out of there within 45 minutes! How cool is that, considering it’s a government-based operation.

FACTS TO NOTE.

A sole proprietorship is a business enterprise that lists a single person as the owner. You may apply for online banking (Maybank2U) at no extra fees.

A partnership is a business between 2 or more partners. You will have to pay a monthly fee to use online banking services.

Both sole proprietorships and partnerships do not limit your liability to the business alone – if you are sued, you may stand to lose your personal property and belongings. To limit it, a limited liability company is formed (Sdn Bhd) instead, but it comes with a lot more costs and paperwork.

Now that you’ve registered a business, what should you do next?

Well, you should have already checked for domain name availability beforehand. If you haven’t, you can head over to www.integricitytechnology.com to get it registered. Then, you can set up your email and website if necessary.

Learn about accounting and how to keep track of your income and expenses.

Look out for business tools to help you run your business better – interestingly, Microsoft has an entire website dedicated to small and medium business owners. It’s particularly relevant to find out what you can do, since most if not all would have Microsoft products running within our offices.

Here’s a little more about what I’ve found out within this Customer Business Centre portal.

There are many simple-to-understand videos made to help you understand business topics better. My top 3 favourite articles+videos from here are (Presenting Data in Charts, Using Microsoft Office Excel Templates to Manage FinancialsMake a Flyer Fast with Microsoft Publisher). My favourite section in the whole portal is the business resources portion – there are lots of interesting and updated articles on practical issues such as, “5 Ways to Keep a Customer Happy”.

Finally, for those of you wanting to learn a bit more about what Microsoft has to offer, there are 2 things you can do – attend FREE informational sessions and evaluate their volume licensing schemes.

I hope this helps you to jump-start your new business and go much further. All the best in your new ventures!

33 Comments

  1. Mei Ying - February 28, 2011

    Nice! Thanks for the post. Heard that applying online is counter-productive! hahahaha

  2. Eric - February 28, 2011

    Wow, will check out these interesting products and services by Microsoft. Any idea if there is any special rate for very very small business start-ups?

  3. Anonymous - March 10, 2011

    Very useful stuff Alex, as usual :)

    Btw, could you probably do a writeup on how we can use Macs for business? Needless to say, cheaper, sleeker and more accessible portable Macs are making its way into the business world. I also believe that the iPad has been touted as the game-changer in business, despite using Apples iOS (which only great feature for business seems to be multitasking).

    As such, how much more differently would we see businesses in the present/future with Macs and iPads?

  4. Mayya @ SCU - April 8, 2011

    Thank you for this i have been looking to find out how to register my business in Malaysia. I am not Malaysian i am here with my husband who is studying Uni. However i would like to start my online business selling my handmade products and would really appreciate any t additional information can you provide to registering my business i’ve searched high and low and cant seem to find any answers!

    • Alex Lam - April 8, 2011

      Hi Mayya, it’s great to know you’re running your own business. I’m not too sure what the procedures are for non-Malaysians, but I would say bring your passport and visa documents along. If your husband is a Malaysian, perhaps you could register it in his name.

      Hope that helps.

  5. jane k - May 25, 2011

    i have a registered business now as an expat with a non Malaysian partner- took alot of paperwork but its done. Now i need to find some huge fee for a work permit submisssion for a sole director. talk about making the bar so high you can’t jump it. has anyone out there managed to set ups a sole person company without paying 500,00o ringgit for the privledge?

  6. Shumyla Ch - August 15, 2011

    hii,

    i am a female entrepreneur from pakistan, and i want to get registered in malaysia and singapore as well. could anyone please help ?? thanks 

  7. Kubber - September 27, 2011

    I was reading the suggestions and comment still I have a question regarding capital paid up amount. where it need to show… where it need to pay… can you give details

  8. zain23 - December 10, 2011

    Next, you will have to decide whether you want to incorporate your business. Incorporation gives owners some amount of security as the company is a legal entity by itself and the owner is a shareholder. Thus, corporate liabilities are separated from that of the owner’s. Incorporation necessitates the signing of the Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association.

  9. Aya - January 8, 2012

    Hi Alex, this is a cool stuff, thanks a lot! May I know how long does it take to process the application? I’m sure it doesn’t get processed right away after we pay and submit the application form?

  10. muhammad munir - May 13, 2012

    hi
    i want establishemnt business in malaysia

  11. favor - May 28, 2012

    hi Alex,

    i am a singapore PR, can i use my name to register a home based company at my home town sabah dealing online business and sell some water filiter?

  12. Daren - January 13, 2013

    Hi Alex,

    If I would like to register for sole proprietor but using different trade name; how should I go about?

    For example,

    Opening a mechanic shop; do I need to start with Auto Body and end with Mechanic or just Auto Body will do as my industry/profession is clearly listed in the form.

    Can I end my trade name with corp., inc, (Auto Body Corporation/Incorporated, etc) or if I’m doing trading, should end with Trading or Enterprise?

    Very useful article and thanks in advance for your help.

    Cheers.

    • TheBackpackr - January 15, 2013

      Hi Daren,

      Congrats on venturing out into the business world. I believe you don’t need to put your trade name into the form as many people register companies with a name they like. I know of companies registered like Stan Services or Cirec Consulting.

      As for the details on ending with Corporation or Trading, I am not certain. You can end with Enterprise.

      Hope that helps. All the best with the business.

  13. Zen - February 6, 2013

    Hi Alex,

    In the Form A, what should I fill in for the section No. Kod Jenis Perniagaan? Where can I find the list of businss type code?

    Also, is it fine to register partnership without the partnership agreement (item #3 in Form A).

    Many thanks and looking forward to your advice.

    Cheers!

  14. Zella - April 5, 2013

    Hello, i believe that i noticed you visited my web site thus i got here to return the favor?
    I’m attempting to in finding things to improve my website!I assume its good enough to use a few of your ideas!!

  15. Farida - May 18, 2013

    You started out by saying it could be complicated but it sounds easy. However I am in Sarawak and SSM does not have the authority to register partnerships in Sarawak. LHDN does and the process is soooooooooooooo complicated. They need my tenancy agreement before they can register my business and the landlord needs my business registration before they can issue my tenancy agreement.

    • A Frustrated Sarawakian - August 28, 2014

      I wished I saw your comment before proceeding to register at the lousy Portal Rasmi Kerajaan Malaysia and wasted RM5 for ROB business name application.

      You’re right! I’m from Sarawak and I can’t proceed without actually stepping to the LHDN counter. So, this whole online registration via SSM for Sarawakians are useless.

  16. Adam - August 13, 2013

    Hi
    the information you have provided is really quite interesting, it is really help a lot, thank you so much…………….i would like to ask,, if an intentional would like to register small business such as “Education Consultation Agency” like to recruit intentional student to Malaysian universities.
    what how he has to do to register…..

  17. Rina - August 14, 2013

    Thanks a zillion for the experience shared. At least I now have some sort of ideas on what needs to be done. I would like to open a sundries shop in my hometown. Wish me luck okay. Thanks again!

  18. Riu - August 24, 2013

    Hi Alex,

    if I am registering a sole proprietorship based on the name as per my Identity Card, can I put a shop name and not my name in my online shop ?

  19. amira - March 5, 2014

    hi there, the info you provided is very beneficial. i would just like to ask what do you mean by the below statement:
    “A partnership is a business between 2 or more partners. You will have to pay a monthly fee to use online banking services. ”

    can u elaborate more on the monthly fee and the online banking services? is this the fee paid to the bank? and do you know the procedure to apply?

    • TheBackpackr - March 17, 2014

      Hi amira,

      Partnerships are a type of business that you can register. For Maybank, you have to pay monthly fees in order for you to perform online transactions if you have this type of business.

      If you register as a sole proprietor, you can apply for Maybank2U which is free.

  20. Susannah - August 20, 2014

    І’m not thɑt much of a online reader to be honest but your blogs really
    nice, keeр іt up! I’ll go ahdad and bookmark youyr website tо come back in the
    future. Manyy tɦanks

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