3 Types of License You Need to Do Business in Malaysia

Before you start a business in Malaysia, it is required to have the necessary business license to operate legally in the country. Foreigners who intend to establish Private limited Company in Malaysia need to know about different types of Malaysian trade licenses requires to run their business activities without any legal issue.

In Malaysia, the business license can be divided into three categories – Signboard Licenses and Business Premises License, Industry specific license (Special license) and Activity-specific License

Page Contents

Signboard Licenses and Business Premises License

A business that is operating in Malaysia needs to apply business premises license and signboard licenses. The license can be applied from the respective state authorities within your business location.  However, the requirements for applying specific license/permits may vary depending on the local authority. These are the required documentation necessary for the application of business premise and signboard license Copy of shareholders identification card.

Img source: hamco-wpa.com

  • Shareholders passport size photograph.
  • Photographs of your business premises
  • A copy of business M&A and Forms such as- 24, 9 and 49
  • Photographs that are showing the signboard of the company.
  • A photocopy of company location plan.
  • Sample design of the signboard that shows its color length.
  • Copy of rental agreement.

Special Licenses

Companies in manufacturing, banking, construction, wholesale, etc. need to have a special agreement or license to operate a business legally in the country.

Banking: under the Banking and Financial Institutions Act 1989, the Central Bank of Malaysia licenses and regulates business such as banking, brokerage, credit and exchange, financial services, commercial banks, and other financial transactions.

Manufacturing: Manufacturing companies that have funds of RM 2.5 million or more need to apply for manufacturing license to the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA).

Img source: cdprinting.net

Construction: All the construction companies in Malaysia need to obtain a license from the Construction Industry Development Board. The license must be obtained before undertaking any construction related activities.

Wholesale and Retail Trade: All the companies who want to operate a wholesale, trading, import/ export or restaurant business needs to obtain WRT license.  WRT license is one of the import licenses for most of the business sector, because this license is required to apply for the work permit. WRT license can be obtained from the Malaysian Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (MDTCA). Click here to learn more about business license in Malaysia.

Activity-specific License

Activity licenses are licenses that govern the Sdn Bhd Company’s activities that need to be met when they reach a certain threshold, in addition to industry requirements and the Immigration License.  This is the type of license which regulate special activity and may apply to one or more industries or business sectors. An investigator needs to invest according to the set of special guidelines designed to protect this class of citizens, employment, workers’ safety, environment, and general public interest.

Examples of activity-specific licenses are as follows:

Img source: dillankellymortgageteam.com

  • Approval for Building plan
  • Fitness certificate for machinery
  • Approval for building any type of air pollution equipment.
  • License for import/ export business
  • Approval from the fire brigade.


It doesn’t matter what types of business you want to start in Malaysia you must obtain the necessary business license to operate it legally. Depending on the type of your business activity the licensing process may vary.

If you are a foreigner and wants to establish a company in Malaysia, it might be difficult for you to register your own company by yourself. Therefore, it is suggested to hire an expert who knows all the documentation procedures required to register a company in Malaysia. However, there are also lots of business consulting firm in Malaysia, who can also help you out with the necessary information required to register a company.