How to register a subsidiary in Malaysia


A Malaysia subsidiary is a private limited company incorporated in Malaysia in which the majority shareholder is a foreign or a local company. It has a legal identity distinct from the parent company’s.

This page provides a detailed overview of a Malaysia subsidiary company registration. A properly structured subsidiary company is a very tax efficient corporate body; hence, this form is the most common type of entity registered in Malaysia by foreign companies.

A Malaysia subsidiary is the most preferred choice for foreign companies to establish their presence in Malaysia. Malaysia allows 100% foreign shareholding. The shareholder’s liability is limited to the value of the shares it subscribes to. Malaysia does not restrict the repatriation of any profit or capital of a Malaysia subsidiary.

Incorporation of a Malaysia Subsidiary Company comes into existence upon registration under the Companies Act (Cap 50) with Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). A Malaysia subsidiary company is also considered a resident company for tax purposes.

Malaysia Subsidiary Registration Requirements

Proposed Name of Subsidiary: The company name must be approved by ACRA before the Malaysia Company can be incorporated. ACRA will reject a proposed company name for the purpose of incorporation if the name is identical to another existing company name; or undesirable or identical to names reserved by the Minister in its register.

Shareholders: A minimum of at least one corporate shareholder is required. A director and shareholder can be the same or different person(s). 100% local or foreign corporate shareholding is allowed. The Malaysia Companies Act allows a minimum of one and a maximum of 50 shareholders for a Malaysia Private Limited Company. Details of shareholders will appear on public records.

Resident Directors: A Malaysia Private Limited Company must have at least one director who must be an “ordinary” resident in Malaysia, i.e. a Malaysia citizen, a Malaysia permanent resident or a person who holds an Employment Pass/EntrePass or a Dependant Pass with a residential address in Malaysia.

There is no limitation on the number of additional local or foreign directors a Malaysia Private Limited Company can appoint. The director must be at least 18 years of age, and must not be bankrupt or convicted of any criminal malpractice in the past. Information of the directors will appear on public records. Directors can also be shareholders or vice versa.

Company Secretary: The company secretary must be a natural person who is an “ordinary” resident in Malaysia. The Malaysia Companies Act requires each company to appoint a company secretary within six month of incorporation.

Share Capital/Paid-up Capital:The minimum paid-up capital for the registration of a Malaysia company is S$1 or its equivalent in any other currency. The parent company may own 100% of the company’s shares. There is no concept of authorized capital in Malaysia.

Registered Address: Every company registered in Malaysia is required to have a registered office address. The registered address must be a physical address and cannot be a PO Box. The use of residential address is allowed for certain types of business.

Governance Structure: The governance structure of a company and the interrelationship between the company and its shareholders is governed by the company’s constitutional documents (the Memorandum of Association and the Articles of Association) as well as by the provisions of the Companies Act. It is also not uncommon to find the members of companies (usually in joint venture arrangements) entering into ‘shareholder agreements’ as among themselves to capture some of their key rights and obligations in relation to how the company is to be structured and managed.

Memorandum and Articles of Association: The Memorandum and Articles of Association of a company must be lodged with ACRA. The Memorandum specifies the activities in which the company may engage in whereas the Articles of Association specifies the rules governing the internal management of the company.

Auditor: An auditor must be appointed within 3 months of the Malaysia subsidiary registration.

Corporate Tax Rates for Subsidiaries in Malaysia
Audited Accounts: A Malaysia subsidiary must file audited accounts annually. However, dormant companies may file unaudited financial reports.
Tax incentives for Subsidiary Company

Subsidiary companies incorporated in Malaysia can take advantage of the republic’s extensive network of Free Trade Agreements (FTA) and Avoidance of Double Tax Agreements (DTAs). If the company has at least one individual shareholder holding with at least 10% shares of the subsidiary company, the firm is entitled to Zero Tax on the first S$100,000 of chargeable income for the first 3 consecutive years.
Registration, Procedure and Timeline

The registration of a Malaysia subsidiary company is a dynamic process that is conducted online. Foreign companies are required to appoint a professional services firm to setup an entity in Malaysia. The registration can be completed in just a few hours, provided that all documents are in order.

Opening a Malaysia Corporate Bank Account

Once the subsidiary company has been incorporated, you may open a corporate bank account with any of the local or international banks based in Malaysia.

If you are unable to come to Malaysia, you may choose a bank that allows opening of a corporate bank account without your physical presence subject to bank “KYC” ( know your client) due diligence polices.

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