Information for Foreigners

  • The main legislation regulating terms and conditions of employment is the Employment Act 1955 (EA). The protection of the EA is extended only to employees whose monthly wages do not exceed RM1,500, manual workers and a few other specified categories.
  • The EA stipulates the minimum terms and benefits. The employer is not prevented from giving better terms but any term or condition of employment which is less favourable is automatically rendered null and void and substituted by the provisions in the EA. The EA and regulations made under it confer benefits such as rest days, public holidays, annual leave, sick leave, hospitalisation leave, maternity leave and termination benefits. The EA also regulates the hours of work and specifies the rates to be paid for overtime work and work on rest days and public holidays.
  • Further information on employment in Malaysia can be obtained from the website of the Ministry of Human Resources at
  • For those who earn above RM3,000 a month, participation is at their option but once they decide to contribute, their employers will also have to comply. Further information on the SOCSO can be obtained at

  • Artists, missionaries, experts or volunteers are allowed to work on a short term basis after having obtained a Visit Pass (Professional). The validity of the Visit Pass (Professional) varies but under normal circumstances, will not exceed 12 months. The applicant must be outside Malaysia when the application is made. Entry will only be allowed upon approval of the pass.
  • Foreign visitors entering the country with a valid passport and visa can obtain a Visit Pass (Social) which is issued solely for the purpose of a social and/or business visit such as:
    1. owners and company representatives entering Malaysia to attend a company meeting or seminar, inspect the company’s accounts or to ensure the smooth running of the company;
    2. investors or businessmen entering to explore business opportunities and investment potential;
    3. foreign representatives of companies entering to introduce goods for manufacture in Malaysia, but not to engage in direct selling or distribution;
    4. property owners entering to negotiate, sell or lease properties;
    5. foreign reporters from mass media agencies entering to cover any event in Malaysia; and
    6. participants in sporting events
  • A Visit Pass (Social) cannot be used for employment.
    1. Dependant’s Pass – This is issued to wives and children of foreigners who have been issued with an employment pass. Application for Dependant’s Pass may be submitted together with the Employment Pass application or upon approval of the Employment Pass.
    2. Student’s Pass - This is issued to foreigners who enrol as students in approved educational institution.
Real Estate
  • The Malaysian land system, except for the land system in the East Malaysian State of Sabah, is based on the Torrens System in Australia, the principles of which are embodied in the provisions of the National Land Code 1965 (NLC). The NLC is the governing legislation in West Malaysia and creates a uniform system of laws relating to land and land tenure, the registration of title to land and of dealings in land within West Malaysia. The States in East Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak) are each governed by their own land laws, namely, the Sabah Land Ordinance and the Sarawak Land Code. Under the Torrens system, title to or interest in land vests and divests only upon registration. Under the NLC, the dealings which are capable of being registered are transfers, leases, charges and easements whereas the dealings which are not capable of being registered are tenancies and liens. As far as the dealings which are capable of being registered are concerned no title to or interest in land will be transferred or created until the instruments affecting these dealings have been registered. Registration under the NLC takes effect when a prescribed memorial of the dealing is made on the register document of title under the hand and seal of the registering authority.
  • Land is owned either on a freehold (in perpetuity) or leasehold (usually 99 years) basis.
  • Land use can be categorised for agricultural, building or industrial purposes. Each category of land use is accompanied by implied conditions prescribed by the National Land Code 1965 and may be subject to express conditions as endorsed in the individual document of title.
  • The most common form of security given by individuals or corporations is the land charge under the National Land Code 1965, which entitles the chargeholder the right to foreclose on the land in the event of a default under the loan. Debentures are also common security creating a fixed and floating charge over the present and future assets of a company including landed property and allowing the debenture-holder to appoint a receiver upon crystallisation of such floating charge. Security may also be given by way of an assignment of the property sale and purchase agreement in cases where there is no title to the land or title to the land is unavailable (for example property development units under housing development projects pending issuance of individual titles).
  • Under the National Land Code 1965, a non-citizen or a foreign company is not allowed to acquire any land (other than industrial land) in West Malaysia unless the prior approval of the relevant State Authority has been obtained. In addition to the State Authority, any acquisition of property by foreign interests (including permanent residents of Malaysia), requires the approval of the Foreign Investment Committee (FIC) unless they are exempted. The FIC is a committee within the Economic Planning Unit of the Prime Minister’s Department, which, amongst others, reviews and regulates the acquisitions by foreign interests of assets and interests in Malaysian companies and businesses. There are currently 2 FIC Guidelines in force, namely:
    1. Guidelines on the acquisition of properties by local and foreign interests; and
    2. Guidelines on the acquisition of interests, mergers and take-overs by local and foreign interests>
  • The Prime Minister’s Department has recently announced that from 1 November 2006, foreigners will be allowed to buy properties costing RM250,000 and above without the approval of the FIC. The ruling, however, is subject to the following conditions - that ownership is restricted to foreigners including permanent residents; only for own use, leased or for investment purposes; and the property is in an area, premises or building meant for dwelling purposes only. Further information on the Economic Planning Unit including the FIC can be obtained at
  • In general, land in Malaysia is commonly identified on the basis of whether it is a ‘landed’ property or ‘strata’ property. Landed property is commonly understood as property with an individual document of title. Multi-storey buildings such as office buildings, apartments or condominiums which are properties will be issued with strata titles which are subsidiary titles for each unit or parcel in the subdivided building.

The title for the land continues to exist and is vested in a statutorily prescribed management corporation which is made up of all the parcel owners.

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