Applying For Business Licenses And Permits In Malaysia: Types, Process & Importance

In this article, we'll look at the various kinds of business licenses and permits in Malaysia. We will also go through the importance of getting licenses, how long it takes to get a license approved, and the paperwork required to apply for a business license.

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Business Licenses And Permits In Malaysia

According to the World Bank’s most recent Ease of Doing Business index, Malaysia is placed in the 12th position and as such, the nation has a favorable business climate for conducting business. As such numerous investors consider setting up their businesses in Malaysia.

business licenses and permits in malaysia

However, it is important to note that establishing a business in Malaysia necessitates the acquisition of necessary licenses. In order to operate your business legally, successfully, and in compliance with all applicable legislation, you must first obtain the essential business licenses and permits in Malaysia. Business licenses and permits are crucial to ensuring that enterprises operate legally, upholding public health and safety requirements, and safeguarding consumer interests.

In this article, we’ll look at the various kinds of business licenses and permits in Malaysia. We will also go through the importance of getting licenses, how long it takes to get a license approved, and the paperwork required to apply for a business license.

Various Kinds of Business Licenses and Permits in Malaysia

Business licenses and permits in Malaysia are categorized into three types:

  •     General licenses
  •     Sector-specific licenses
  •     Licenses for particular activities

About General Licenses

A general business license, commonly referred is required by investors when they choose to launch an enterprise in Malaysia. This license grants the company permission to conduct business at a specified location and guarantees adherence to zoning laws and commercial codes in the area.

The following is a list of general licenses that pertain to all businesses:

  •     Social Security Organisation
  •     Business Registration
  •     Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF)
  •     Income tax registration for the business and its workers
  •     Employees Provident Fund (EPF)
  •     Business Premise Licenses and Signboard Licenses

About Sector-specific Licenses

Licenses required for a particular business or sector identified by the Malaysian government are known as sector-specific licenses. This comprises the laws that control how a certain industry or sector develops in accordance with the evolution of governmental policy. 

These are some instances of sector special licenses:

  • Licenses pertaining to the manufacturing industry: A business that has a paid-up capital of little more than RM 2.5 million and fewer than 75 employees can request an official document confirming that the business is free from manufacturing licenses.
  • Licenses for the oil exploration industry: Corporations that seek to establish reserves of petroleum and natural gas in Malaysia have to execute a production-sharing contract with Petronas, the national oil corporation of Malaysia.
  • Licenses for both wholesale and retail industries: Organizations that operate in distribution trade services, such as wholesalers, retailers, franchisees, on the domestic marketplace, and dealers or representatives of foreign trading firms, are eligible to apply for this license.
  • Permits relevant to the construction industry: Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) licensing is required for businesses that operate in construction-related operations.
  • Licenses for the telecommunications industry
  • Licenses pertaining to the broadcasting industry
  • Permits pertaining to public houses: A public house license must be obtained in order to start a restaurant that serves alcoholic beverages. You can apply for this license at the neighboring local government offices. The license is good for six to twelve months.

Activity-specific Licenses in Malaysia

activity specific licenses in malaysia

Activity-specific licenses are kind of business licenses and permits in Malaysia that governs particular actions and may be used across many markets or industries. The license imposes strict requirements on investors that are intended to safeguard the rights of people, employment opportunities, worker security, the environment, and general welfare.

Licenses for particular activities include:

  •     Fitness certification for approved machinery
  •     Tax license for sales
  •     Approving positions for foreigners
  •     Fire brigade endorsement
  •     Acceptance of a building plan
  •     Installation, relocation, or modification of air pollution control equipment

Process for Registering Businesses and Obtaining Licences

In Malaysia, registering the corporate organization with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) or other appropriate agencies is the initial step in getting business licenses and permits. In order to register a business, you must provide details regarding its ownership structure, board of directors, and share capital.

After the company is incorporated, business owners can move forward and apply for the business licenses and permits in Malaysia needed for their particular sector or line of work. The application procedure normally entails providing pertinent paperwork, paying the required costs, and completing application forms.

Importance of Business Licenses and Permits in Malaysia

Getting the required business licenses and permits in Malaysia is important for a number of reasons:

Legal Conformity

Without the necessary licenses, operating a business is against the law and can result in penalties like fines, closure, or jail.

Protecting consumers

Consumers are safeguarded from potential harm or fraudulent actions by licensing, which guarantees that enterprises adhere to strict standards, safety requirements, and ethical practices.

Access to Opportunities

Certain contracts, tenders, or government procurement procedures call for the possession of particular licenses or permits, providing enterprises with chances for development and growth.

Time required to approve a business license in Malaysia

Depending on the type of industrial license, the time required for the license approval process might range from one to six months.

The Malaysian government is responsible for checking the company’s operations before the application is approved and the license is granted.


When conducting business in Malaysia, getting the required licenses and permits is crucial. To guarantee that corporate operations are carried out in a legal and acceptable manner, the Malaysian government has built a thorough regulatory structure. Understanding the particular licenses and permissions that apply to a firm is crucial to its success and legal compliance.

For hassle-free business licensing and permit applications in Malaysia, trust Odint Consulting. Our experts will provide tailored guidance on selecting the right license for your business and handle the application process with relevant authorities on your behalf. Contact us now to secure your business license in Malaysia.


In Malaysia, there are three different categories of business licenses and permits:

  • General licenses
  • Sector-specific licenses
  • Licenses for particular activities

No, it is not permitted to run a business in Malaysia without the required licenses and permits. Penalties, fines, or even the business’s closure may follow non-compliance.

An application must be submitted to the appropriate authorities together with the required paperwork and payments in order to start the procedure. If all requirements are met, the license or permission will be issued following a review and examination of the application.

Any changes to your company’s operations or organizational structure that might have an impact on your licenses and permits should be reported to the appropriate authorities. Issues with non-compliance may arise if the authorities are not updated.