[Update January 2009 - By far the easiest way to register a business is actually by doing it manually. The SSM website has changed, is not very user friendly and takes up to 1 week to process.
Going to SSM and registering yourself will take no more than 2 hours.]
[Update August 2008: Additionally, you can download all the steps I have listed below in an easy to read .pdf file that I took the time to create. And yes, it's FREE! Click here.]
Here are all the steps required to register your business as a sole proprietor in Malaysia. And the best thing about it is it’s online!
Bookmark this post, tell all your friends and family and forward everyone you know this link. Now no one can use the excuse, ‘I don’t know how to register a business, so I won’t start one’ anymore!
Step 1 – Warning
Use Internet Explorer, as there’s a problem with Mozilla in the later stages of the application process and you won’t be able to use some important sections of the e – gov pages.
Although the government sites claim to be available 24 hours a day, I found that the payment pages didn’t work on the weekend and also outside of business hours. Whether or not the system was down for maintenance, I don’t know, but it won’t tell you that the site is down, it’ll just refuse to accept payment.
So I would suggest registering your business name on weekdays and during working hours.
Also, please be prepared to click through ALOT of links, as the process flow of the government portal SUCKS. Just be calm, be Zen and everything should go smoothly for you if you follow my instructions. (Now if only I had some instructions to follow)
Alternatively, you could do all this manually at The Mall opposite PWTC, but I refuse to.
Step 2 – Create an account with ‘mygovernment’
Go to the registration page for the ‘mygovernment’ web page and select your category. Mine was ‘Malaysian citizen’.
Be warned that there are bugs in the form, such as when I tried to check if my user name was available. It gave me the following page. I suggest just choose a user name and fill in the rest of the details first. When you click next, it’ll tell you if the name is being used or not anyway.
Once all the details are filled, you will get to the ‘registration successful’ page. You now have to wait for them to send a confirmation e-mail to your registered e-mail address, saying that you have been added to the system.
It didn’t take too long for me, about a half hour… but I’m sure times will vary, just be patient.
Once the e-mail arrives, congratulations! You’re now registered with ‘mygovernment’.
Step 3 – Become Frustrated
OK, at this point, you’ve registered with the ‘mygovernment’ website. However, you will need to register an account on ANOTHER government body site, called ‘Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia’ or ‘Companies Commission of Malaysia’.
I don’t know why they have to complicate things like this, but hey, that’s how things work in Malaysia.
After a lot of digging through on my own and to cut a long story short, the next step is to register with SSM. (Click the link)
At the bottom of the page, select ‘ROB‘ and click ‘open form‘. The next page it opens is the personal information that you input when you registered with ‘mygovernment’ in step 2. Make sure it’s correct and click ‘finish‘.
Once it saves, it will take you back to the original page (shown above). Click ‘submit‘ to continue.
Unfortunately, nothing in life is free. The next page will ask for payment.
It’s a RM5 subscription fee (yearly i think). I used my credit card to pay. Just enter your credit card details and click ‘pay‘. The box labeled ‘security code‘ is the 3 digit number on the back of your credit card, or sometimes referred to as a CVS number.
You will then be issued an online receipt. Print out a copy and keep this aside in case of future needs.
You will need to renew your SSM membership one year from the day you joined, in case you want to sign up any more business names.
Click ‘close‘ to proceed to the next step.
Step 4 – Application of business name approval (ROB)
OK now you have to apply for your business name to be approved. This step is because there are certain business names that you can’t use due to certain words being gazetted. Please see the gazetted (ie prohibited) words and the registration guide for a business name. For example, naming a restaurant King of Kings would probably not be allowed.
Firstly, go to the SSM- Application For Business Name Approval (ROB) and scroll to the bottom of the page. You may have to login again.
Click ‘Open Form‘ and fill in all the details of your business.
At this point it’ll be good to point out that they can refuse your business name if it is misleading to the nature of your business. So don’t go applying for business names like ‘Make Money for Free Enterprise’ or something like that. It’ll just get refused.
I was refused the business name ‘Inside the Box’ several times until I got fed up and chose the name ‘Inside the Box Web Services’. The previous name was refused several times due to a ‘misleading nature’ of the business name as deemed by SSM.
Once all the information is filled in, click ‘finish‘ and it will take you back to the main page again. Scroll to the bottom and click ‘submit‘ it will ask you if you are sure. Click ‘yes‘.
Print out a copy of the transaction and then you’ll have to wait for them to approve the use of your chosen business name. Once they do they will send you an e-mail, after you get approval proceed to step 5 below.
Step 5- Online Registration of Business (ROB)
Now that you’ve completed all the frustrating steps above, you can now register your business using your approved business name.
First, go to the link SSM – Online Registration of Business (ROB) and login again if they ask you to.
Scroll to the bottom of the page where it says ‘step 1‘ and click ‘open form A‘.
Fill in all the details that you see. (Page 1 is just details about yourself. Page 2 asks you to select your business type and verify your details.)
The very first line, ‘Name approval No.’ is the reference number of your ROB name approval from step 4 above. It will be in the subject heading of the e-mail you will receive from SSM approving the use of your business name.
Click ‘Verify Name Approval No.‘ and it will automatically fill in the box labelled ‘business name‘ if the name was approved.
click ‘next‘ when you’re done and proceed to page 2.
On page 2, click the link ‘object code table‘ and type in the type of business you will be operating. So I typed in ‘Internet‘ and it gave me 2 choices, internet cafe or internet services. I chose internet services.
After verifying the details, click ‘finish‘ and it will bring you back to the original screen. Scroll down and click ‘Open form branch info (new form)‘ under ‘step 2‘.
Be warned that the system is not the most stable in the world. You may have to re-save or re-finish Form A before it lets you move on to the next form. If on the main page there is a red * next to the form buttons, it means you have to go back to the form and re-submit some data or there was an error in your submission.
Next select ‘Open Form Branch Info (New Form)‘. Fill in the details about your branch location. Click ‘Finish‘ when done.
Next click ‘print form A and Branch info‘ and print yourself a copy of your forms.
Click the ‘back’ button on your browser to go back to the main screen when you’re done printing.
Scroll down to ‘step 3′ and click the small link of the number 1 that you see under the sentence ‘please fill in all the required information’.
Why is this step so weird? I don’t know, that’s how I had to do it.
Now although it looks like there are more steps to complete (ie step 4 and step 5) after much frustration and through calling SSM, I found out that unless you have a business partner, you don’t have to upload any supporting documents.
So click ‘submit‘ and proceed to payment.
It will cost you RM60 for each year that you register as well as RM5 for each branch of your business that you register. Again I am going to pay with my credit card. Select the payment method that you wish and click ‘pay‘.
They will e-mail you a copy of your business details in .pdf format. Print one to file away.
The email will also instruct you (in Malay again) to print out one copy and keep it on display at your place of business (which for me is the wall attached to my room).
It will take 24 hours to process your documents. If you can find your business name at SSM Registration and Business Search application, then:
Congratulations! You are now the proud owner of your very own business (well business name anyway.)
Now go make some money you BUM!