Malaysia - Country Commercial Guide
Licensing Requirements for Professional Services
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The Services sector has been a driver of Malaysia’s economic and job growth in recent years. Since 2009, Malaysia has liberalized 45 service sub-sectors. Malaysia allows 100-percent foreign equity participation in private hospital services, medical specialist clinics, department, and specialty stores, incineration services, accounting and taxation services, courier services, private universities, vocational schools, dental specialist services, skills training centers, international schools, vocational schools for special needs, and quantity surveyors services. 

Architectural and Engineering Services: Under Malaysia’s registration system for architects and engineers, foreign architects and engineers may only seek temporary registration. As agreed, foreign architectural firms are eligible only for special projects between Malaysia and an interested foreign government. Unlike engineers, Malaysian architectural firms may not have foreign architectural firms as registered partners. Foreign architecture firms may only operate as affiliates of Malaysian companies. Foreign engineering companies must establish joint ventures with Malaysian firms and receive “temporary licensing,” granted only on a project-by-project basis and subject to an economic needs test and other criteria imposed by the licensing board.  

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation   

ATA Carnet

Board of Engineers Malaysia 

Bureau of Industry and Security  

Dept of Standards Malaysia  

Government Gazette - LawNet 

Malaysian Institute of Architects 

Malaysia Architect Board 

Securities Commission 

U.S. ASEAN Business Council 

Other Barriers

For businesses to operate in Malaysia, they are required to comply with some form of licensing. Business licenses are required by the legislation and administered by various government agencies, statutory bodies, and local authorities. Business licenses include registrations, approvals, licenses, and permits. The compliance requirements vary by industry, business activity, and location. Business licenses can be categorized into three different logical groups, namely: General, sector/industry-specific, and activity-specific licenses.

For more information:

Business License in Malaysia  

Guidelines on Foreign Participation in Distributive Trade Services