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Register a representative office in Malaysia

The activity of a representative office is, as the name suggests, an office to represent the foreign parent company (especially in the manufacturing and services sector) to undertake designated functions, including investment research, develop bilateral trade, marketing and promotion of the parent outside Malaysia and research and development in Malaysia. A representative office is not permitted to conduct trade or other commercial activities, enter into contracts on behalf of the parent company or provide services for a fee in Malaysia. It is required to be funded by the parent company from its resources outside of Malaysia.

The procedure to establish a representative office is fast and relatively straightforward. An application with the required supporting documentation must be submitted to the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) which will issue authorisation if the legal requirements are met. The process generally takes an average of six weeks and when issued the authorisation is usually valid for two years depending on the merits of the application. There is no requirement for the representative office to be incorporated under the Companies Act 1965.

Employees are generally limited to one expatriate, who is subject to income tax at the usual rates in Malaysia. Application may be made to MIDA for additional work permits for other expat employees, should additional employees be required. 

January 2016
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