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A Practical Guide to Doing Business in Malaysia

The Malaysian government remains committed to progressing the country to a high-income economy by 2020, hastening the transition from a commodities-dominated economy through many initiatives through the years. These include the New Economic Model (NEM) and Economic Transformation Program (ETP) launched in 2010, chiefly encouraging both investment and consumption, as well as Eleventh Malaysia Plan 2016-2020 (11MP) rolled out in 2015, sharpening the final focal areas of economic development. Malaysia, a leading exporter of electrical and electronic products backed by a strong manufacturing, intends to invest in high-value, knowledge-intensive services and further improve infrastructure and education, which is seen as vital for achieving the economic transition. Meanwhile, the sluggish external market including particularly China, a key export market, puts Malaysia at risk of not achieving the target annual GDP growth of 5 6%. The IMF’s World Economic Outlook, April 2017 projects Malaysia to grow between 4% and 5% over the next two years.

Malaysia is considered the second easiest country in ASEAN to do business in and is ranked 25th out of 138 economies in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2016-17 and 23rd out of 190 economies in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2017 report. Opportunities to invest in Malaysia are broad and investment is encouraged in modern services such as private education, health tourism, ICT, creative industries and biotechnology. With inward investment focussed mostly in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Johor, promoting interest in the country's northern regions is also seen as a vital part of rebalancing the economic map. A key project is the development of the East Coast Economic Region (ECER), which spans the northern states of Kelantan and Terengganu, as well as Pahang in the east (where the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park is situated) and Mersing in southeastern Johor. This business guide provides practical information for Hong Kong companies who are looking to invest and do business in Malaysia.


  1. Regulatory Environment
  2. Establishing a Presence
  3. Intellectual Property Protection
  4. Staff Recruitment
  5. Tax Considerations
  6. Import/Export Procedures
  7. Further Information

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