SME Companies in Malaysia

SME Companies in Malaysia

Malaysia is turning out to be a hub station of various national and international companies. Every year, numbers of renown foreign companies, as well as domestic enterprises, join the club to widen the corporate spectrum of Malaysia. Both startups and multinational businesses are seeing fortune in this land.

The country, as a result took the honorary rank from the World bank for having one of the most favorable environments to conduct businesses. Big industries, along with small and medium enterprise (SME) companies in Malaysia are equally progressing, and their prospects are putting positive impacts to the nation’s annual economy.

Here in this article, we will focus on SME companies only. Throughout the content, we will dig in deep on SME company registration processes. The article also included details about business entities and shareholder requirements, registration documents needed, fees and required certifications for conducting businesses.

Before going straight into the subject, let’s give an overview on small and medium enterprise companies or SME companies in Malaysia. SME company comprises of over 900000 business bodies in Malaysia according to 2016 counts. These registered companies put a major contribution in Malaysia’s yearly GDP.

Malaysian corporate authority, on the other hand provide sufficient moral and corporate supports to these companies. As a result, these companies are thriving rapidly. To top, even more SME companies are adding up every now and then. So, with no further delay, lets indulge into the main subject.

Requirements for SME companies in Malaysia

SME companies comprise of small and medium size businesses only. There are certain requirements that Malaysian authority strictly implies on SME businesses in this country.

The table below shows employee and annual turnover requirements every type of SME business need to undertake in Malaysia:

For Manufacturing based enterprises:

Type of SME companies Employee limitations Range of annual Turnovers
Small size enterprise 5-75 RM 300,000 - RM 15 million
Medium size enterprise 75-200 RM 15 million - RM 50 million

For service-based enterprises: 

Type of SME companies Employee limitations Range of annual Turnovers
Small size enterprise 5-30 RM 300,000 - RM 3 million
Medium size enterprise 30-75 RM 3 million - RM 20 million

Manufacturing enterprises or companies are those which are responsible for converting raw materials to consumable end-products that are distributed in the markets for consumers. Example for relevant companies can be food manufacturing businesses, home appliance manufacturing companies.

On the other hand, Service based enterprises are rather responsible to provide business to client services and doesn’t need to manufacture or produce any materials for end users. Example of such companies can be banks, business consultancy firm etc.

SME company registration process

We have systematically researched through the detail requirements for incorporating a SME company in Malaysia. One need to note that, all incorporation related activities are governed by the company commission of Malaysia (CCM), also known as Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia or SSM.

This government authorized body receives all company registration forms from clients in Malaysia, verify and incorporate businesses accordingly. This government body also monitors existing companies at regular intervals.

Before appearing to the SSM office for company incorporation formalities, one must fix the business type first. Malaysia allows 5 business types. These are as follows:

Please note that Sole Proprietorship companies are meant for Malaysian citizens or residents only. Foreign investors cannot invest on this particular business type.

On the other hand, when considering rest of the other SME company formation, the biggest client interest goes for the Sdn Bhd or limited liability company in Malaysia. This is due to limits implied during company liabilities, along with several other business facilities which are preferred by the local and foreign investors.

Stages of SME company registration in Malaysia

Stages of SME company registration in Malaysia

Trade name selection and approval

This is the very first task a business owner needs to carry out as a part of SME company registration process. Here he/she has to choose more than one company name and enlist those names to the form PNA.42. This form is dedicated for company name registration purpose only. The approval for the trade name can be obtained within the same day a drafted PNA.42. form is submitted to the SSM.

Hiring company secretary

At this point a registered company secretary has to be hired. This is compulsory and has to be abide under the corporate ACT 1965 of the country. The secretary on the other hand, needs to be an approved one. He/she should be a legal license holder from Company Secretaries Association of Malaysia.

Drafting and submitting company registration form

The next stage of company registration process requires completion of the Form-A application. This application form asks for several data from the applicant. One has to provide following information to complete the Form-A application:

  • Approved Business name
  • Full identifications of all owners in the company
  • A business address in Malaysia
  • Details information of the shareholders or directors
  • Detail information of company secretary
  • All relevant ID document has to be attached accordingly during application submission to the SSM.

Paying government fees

Once required documents have been submitted as recommended by the company commission of Malaysia (SSM), a government registration fees have to be paid along with this. The amount of government charge however, varies, depend on the business type. Upon handing over the fees, the payee will receive a money receipt for this payment.

Receive company registration certificate

If all papers are delivered as per SSM official’s recommendation, a company registration certificate will be issued. It takes very short time to obtain this certificate after document submission. This certificate entitles the client to start his/her business in Malaysia. 

Obtaining additional licenses and approvals

Once the company registration certificate is on hand, the next task should be collecting required licenses and approvals. There are various licenses that a company owner has to obtain for doing business in a legal state. Various approvals such as business license, signboard license, halal license, import-export approvals etc. has to be collected as per regional authority’s recommendations.

Obtaining work permits and appropriate visa

This is the last stage of SME company registration process in Malaysia. However, this stage will not be necessary for local entrepreneurs. Foreign investor has to collect proper work permits and visa from the embassy. This will legalize their stay and work permission in this country.

List of top SME fields in Malaysia

SME companies in Malaysia are coming up with their top notched products and services which are consumed and used in daily basis. Following are some top fields of products and services SME companies are coming up with in this country.

  • Banking
  • Food and beverage
  • Hotel and Tourism
  • Electronics
  • Medical services
  • Wood industries
  • Interior design
  • Finance and logistics
  • Real estate
  • Business consultancy services

What are the best SME companies in Malaysia?

Its is literally impossible to rank SME companies in Malaysia due to the high competitions in the market. Although it is very much possible to figure out top SME companies.

In recent year small Medium enterprise owners have been awarded accordingly for their corporate contributions and remarkable performances in Malaysia. Here we have listed names of top 10 SME companies along with their respective work niche:

  1. A Job Thing- Recruitment and hiring service
  2. Akyu- Packaging Supplies & Equipment Distributor
  3. The Boom Beverage- Beverage manufacturer
  4. BuildEasy- Interior designing
  5. IJ Pharmacy- Pharmaceuticals
  6. Persafe Engineering- Integrated services provider in the oil and gas industries
  7. Linkk Busway Systems- Power distribution equipment manufacturer
  8. Plus Solar Systems- Soler energy solutions
  9. Peoplender- Peer to peer financing platform
  10. Segamat Panel Boards- Medium-Density Fiberboard (MDF) manufacturer

At a final glance, it must be mentioned that, SME companies put great affords in building Malaysian economy. However, working in the market with validity asks for proper licenses and approvals by the government and local authorities.

Additionally, personal requirement suggests that, an applicant has to be above 18 years of age to be eligible for registering SME company in Malaysia. Failing to come up with either company registration certificate or licenses for SME company in Malaysia may result to a heavy fine of up to RM50000 or imprisonment of up to 2 years. Well, now you may want to know about setting up a foreign company in Malaysia.


What is SME company in Malaysia?

SME stand for Small Medium Enterprise. This refers all small to medium spectrum companies operating in Malaysia.

How many SME companies are operating in Malaysia?

There are approximately 907,065 of SME companies in Malaysia according to the census count of 2016. After four years, this number has gone way more than this.

How do I figure out a company’s SME status?

It can be identifying in two ways. Either by the head count in the company which should be between 5-200 employees, or by Range of annual Turnovers which must be between RM 300,000 - RM 50million.

What are the company types foreign investors can invest on in Malaysia?

Except of the Sole proprietorship company, which is reserved for Malaysian residents only, a foreign expatriate can invest on either Partnership business, a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), a limited liability company (LLC) or Sendirian Berhad (Sdn Bhd) or a Public Limited Company (PLC) or Berhad (Bhd) in Malaysia

Read Also: Registering an SME in Malaysia


Company Registration Expert Since 2012