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Malaysia Representative Office Setup

Setting Up Representative Office in Malaysia

What is a representative office?

Representative offices (RO) allow foreign-based companies to establish a presence in Malaysia along with their expatriate employees to explore business opportunities within the country.

The establishment of a Representative Office allows foreign companies the opportunity to assess whether Malaysia is the right place for them to stay and to start their businesses by establishing a company or branch. An establishment of a representative office may be approved for a limited period based on the merits of each case. Representative offices are not subject to taxation.

A representative office is an extension of the foreign company’s headquarters

Activities permitted by the representative office

Activities not permitted by the representative office

A representative office/regional office, however, is not permitted to engage in the following activities:

Establishment period:

Expatriate Posts:

Each Representative office/Regional office will receive expatriate posts, and the number will depend on the functions and activities of the office. Only managerial and technical positions are open to expatriates. A work permit will be granted for a minimum of two years and is renewable.

Expatriates employed by a Representative Office are subject to ordinary income taxes. For an expatriate working in a Regional Office, however, taxation is based only on the portion of their taxable income related to the number of days spent in the country.

Procedure for Application:

Documents required to establish a representative office

  • Please complete the application form with information such as the purpose of the establishment, activities of the proposed office, benefits to Malaysia from the establishment of this office, estimated cash flow and human resources arrangements for the proposed office.
  • A copy of the certificate of incorporation of the parent company
  • Business profile of the parent company
  • Copy of the parent company’s latest annual report and audited financial statements for the past two years
  • Passport copy
  • 1 recent passport photo
  • Educational certificates (above high school)
  • Resume copy
  • Previous employment testimonials and appointment letters
  • Tenancy agreement for the business operations address in Malaysia

A document of approximately one to two pages that outlines:

  • A detailed description of the duties the applicant will be performing
  • A detailed description of the company’s activities and/or products

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