Welcome to Malaysia!
“Malaysia, truly Asia”
Malaysia is a vast profusion of cultures, a blended and harmonious ethnic mix, which already makes the country unique, to begin with. Consisting of a federation of thirteen states and three federal territories, Malaysia attained independence from the British in 1957, and assumed its current name in 1963.
With a perfect blend of racial and cultural similarities and diversity - a hospitable welcome and wonderful weather, combined with political stability – awaits foreigners who wish to discover Malaysia, or make it their `home away from home’.
The country consists of two geographical regions divided by the South China Sea; East Malaysia and West Malaysia. East Malaysia occupies the northern part of the island of Borneo, bordering Indonesia and the Sultanate of Brunei. It consists of the Federal Territory of Labuan Islands and the states of Sabah and Sarawak.
West Malaysia - or Peninsula Malaysia - on the Malay Peninsula shares a land border on the north with Thailand, and is connected by the Johor-Singapore Causeway and the Malaysia-Singapore Second Link to the south with Singapore. It consists of the eleven states of Johor, Kedah, Kelantan, Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang, Perak, Perlis, Penang, Selangor and Terengganu, and the two Federal Territories of Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur.
Of Malaysia’s growing population of 27.17* million, approximately 80% of the population is distributed throughout Peninsular Malaysia, while the remaining reside in Sabah and Sarawak.
Although the Malays form the largest ethnic group here, modern Malaysian society is heterogeneous, with substantial Chinese and Indian minorities. Indeed, the ethnic mix of Malaysia’s population can be identified according to four major groups: the Malays, Chinese, Indians and native tribesmen.
To maintain this pleasant mix, Malaysian culture emphasises the core values of courtesy, moderation, tolerance and cordial relations between family members, neighbours and the community.
Malaysia today is an export-driven economy spurred on by high technology, knowledge-based and capital-intensive industries, due to its wealth of mineral resources and fertile plains.
A practical, pragmatic management approach has enabled the economy to raise its competitiveness and enhance its flexibility – even in the face of rapid globalization. The government has taken deliberate measures to diversify the economy, in order to ensure sustainable growth by encouraging a knowledge-based economy, driven by human capital, innovation and ideas.
The country continues to enhance the services sector, accelerate value-added features on the manufacturing sector as well as boost the agriculture and agro-based sector as the third engine of growth, while paying attention to the new sources of growth including biotechnology, information and communications technology, ‘halal’ products and Islamic finance.
Armed with a more diverse economic structure and strengthened domestic fundamentals,
Malaysia continues to enjoy healthy surplus in external trade, low unemployment as well as strong international reserves and high national savings.
Malaysia is one of Asia’s most attractive manufacturing and export bases; with the private sector partnering the public sector to achieve the nation’s development objectives - backed by dynamic government policies.
Nurturing Business Environment
A major factor that continues to draw investors to Malaysia is the government’s commitment to maintain a business environment that provides companies with the opportunities for growth and profits.
With effect from June 2003, the government allows 100% foreign equity for all investments in new projects, as well as investments in expansion and diversification projects by existing companies - irrespective of their level of exports. This move has indeed catalysed the influx of foreign participation.
Corporate tax rate is set at an attractive 27%, and is applicable to both resident and non-resident companies. Malaysia also offers a wide range of tax incentives for manufacturing projects under the Promotion of Investments Act 1986 and the Income Tax Act 1967 - including Pioneer Status, Investment Tax Allowance, Reinvestment Allowance, Incentives for High Technology Industries, Incentives for Strategic Projects and Incentives for the Setting-up of International/ Regional Service-based Operations.
To lend further impetus to the economy, the Malaysian government has also given the go-ahead to foreign manufacturing companies to employ expatriates when certain skills are not available locally. A company with foreign paid-up capital of US$2 million and above will be allowed to permanently make ten posts available for expatriates, including five key posts.
Human Resource and Development
Backed by the government’s continued support of human resource development in all sectors, Malaysia offers investors a young, educated and productive workforce at very competitive costs. The country’s literacy rates are high - at more than 94% - and school leavers entering the job market have at least eleven years of basic education.
Under Malaysia’s five-year plan, education and training are accorded high priority in national development with more than 17 public and 20 private universities and colleges, including various polytechnics and industrial training institutes that offer courses leading to certificate, diploma, degree and post-graduate degree qualifications.
The Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF) was launched in 1993 to encourage training, retraining and skills upgrading in the private sector. Employers, in the manufacturing and service sectors who contribute to this fund are eligible to apply for grants to defray or subsidise the costs incurred in training and retraining their workforce.
The National Vocational Training Council, which comes under purview of the Ministry of Human Resources, coordinates the planning and development of a comprehensive system of vocational and industrial training programmes for all public training agencies. It also develops the National Occupational Skills Standards (NOSS) on a continuous basis.
Besides the increasing number of public training there are several advanced skills training institutes such as the German-Malaysian Institute, Malaysia France Institute, Japan Malaysia Technical Institute, British Malaysia Institute and Malaysian Spanish Institute.
Malaysia’s persistent drive to develop and upgrade its infrastructure has resulted in the country having one of the most well-developed infrastructures, among Asia’s newly industrialising countries.
A landmark event was the completion of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), which opened in 1998. The following year, Cyberjaya - Malaysia’s first intelligent city and the nucleus of the country’s Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) - became a reality, complete with a Multimedia University to provide a pool of highly-skilled workers for the industrial sector.
Another recent addition to Kuala Lumpur’s infrastructure is the Kuala Lumpur Sentral Terminal - a transportation hub integrating all major rail transport networks, including the Express Rail Link to the KLIA and Putrajaya, the government’s new administrative centre.
Industries in Malaysia are mainly located in over 200 industrial estates or parks and 13 Free Industrial Zones (FIZs) throughout the country. New sites, fully equipped with infrastructure facilities such as roads, electricity and water supplies, and telecommunications, are continuously being developed by state governments as well as private developers to meet demand.
In addition, Malaysia’s rapid move towards the K-economy allows companies to do business in an environment that is geared towards information technology. English is widely used in Malaysia, especially in business; thereby facilitating investors’ communication with local personnel and suppliers. The country's legal and accounting practices - derived from the British system - are another plus-point to most international companies.
Complementing these favourable factors is the presence of various chambers of commerce and trade associations from different countries – which should make newcomers to Malaysia’s business scene invariably feel at home
Finance and Banking
A well-developed financial and banking sector has enhanced Malaysia’s position as a dynamic export base in Asia. Sophisticated financial facilities are available through domestic and foreign commercial banks and their nationwide network of branches.
Besides the commercial banks, merchant banks, finance companies and industrial finance institutions are major sources of credit to the industrial sector in Malaysia. Exporters in Malaysia can also take advantage of the credit facilities offered by the Export-Import Bank of Malaysia Berhad (Exim Bank), while another institution, Malaysia Export Credit Insurance Berhad (MECIB), offers export insurance cover and guarantees.
“To know Malaysia, is to love Malaysia”
Malaysia is among the friendliest and most hospitable places in the world to work and live in. This is in no small part due to Malaysians being a warm and friendly people, who are only too happy to assimilate foreigners into their circle of friends.
Expatriates and their families are guaranteed a safe and comfortable living environment with 21st century amenities, good healthcare and medical facilities, excellent educational institutions, and world-class recreational and sports facilities - at costs much lower than those of other developed countries.
Establishments in Malaysia cater for every taste and budget and range from shopping malls to hypermarkets to specialty stores which are a treasure chest of artefacts and antiques.
Welcome to Malaysia, where life is an adventure!
* Based on the “Economic Report 2006/2007” published by the Ministry of Finance, Malaysia
“Established as a steady, well-established financial hub with one of the most vibrant economies in Asia, Malaysia – a melting pot of cultures - has much to offer the world.”