Malaysia - Commercial Guide
Licensing Requirements for Professional Services

Includes license requirements for key professional services that are open to U.S. service providers.

Last published date: 2020-08-19

The services sector has been a driver of Malaysia’s economic and job growth in recent years.  Since 2009, Malaysia liberalized 45 service sub-sectors (access more information here). 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

In November 2014, the Lower House of the Parliament passed amendments to laws governing architectural services, quantity surveying services, and engineering services, which eased restrictions on foreigners working in these professions in Malaysia.  The amended legislation on architectural services came into force in June 2015.  Under Malaysia’s registration system for architects and engineers, foreign architects and engineers may only seek temporary registration. Foreign architectural firms are eligible only for special projects as agreed 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," which is granted only on a project-by-project basis and is subject to an economic needs test and other criteria imposed by the licensing board. 

 

Lembaga Arkitek Malaysia / Malaysia Architect Board

17th Floor, Block F, Ibupejabat JKR

Jalan Sultan Salahuddin

50582 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Tel: +60 (3) 2698 2878

Email: info@lam.gov.my

Website: https://www.lam.gov.my/

 

Pertubuhan Akitek Malaysia / Malaysian Institute of Architects

99L, Jalan Tandok, Bangsar,
59100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Tel: +60 (3) 2202 2866
Email: info@pam.org.my

Website: http://www.pam.org.my/

 

Board of Engineers Malaysia

17th Floor, Block F, Ibupejabat JKR

Jalan Sultan Salahuddin

50582 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Tel: +60 (3) 2691 2090

Email: enquiry@bem.org.my

Website: http://www.bem.org.my/

Insurance

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) regulates entities carrying out all insurance businesses and activities. Insurers are licensed by the Ministry of Finance and must be approved and registered with BNM. The life and non-life insurance businesses in Malaysia are regulated by the provisions of the Financial Service Act (FSA), and the Malaysian government permits FDI up to a limit of 70% in the insurance industry.

Persatuan Insurans Am Malaysia (PIAM) is the national trade association of all licensed direct and reinsurance companies for general insurance in Malaysia. Currently, PIAM has 26 member companies.

For more information: List of Licensed Insurance Companies in Malaysia

Securities

The foreign shareholding limit in existing stockbroking companies is 70 percent. BNM permits 100 percent foreign ownership for qualified leading fund management companies in the wholesale fund management segment. In retail fund management, foreign shareholding limit is 70 percent.

Malaysian companies that seek to be listed in Bursa Malaysia are required to have at least 30 percent Bumiputra shareholdings. This guideline does not apply for foreign companies seeking a listing on Bursa Malaysia.

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