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How to register a business in Sarawak: A step-by-step guide

After running around trying to register my own enterprise, I finally understand why there are not that many new businesses springing up here compared to West Malaysia. It's because it's so darn hard to get a business up and running and most people wouldn't know how to do it. 

Before this I've been trying so hard to find out more about registering a business in Kuching on the Internet but unfortunately there is a severe lack of reliable information online. I decided to write a post about it, hopefully it's useful to you. 

If you're a Sarawakian and you wish to open up a new business, I gotta say that unfortunately it is a very tedious process. Here, to register a business, we follow a very different and rather archaic set of procedures. Which means there's no online process and everything has to be done manually. 

Akta Pendaftaran Perniagaan 1956 apparently doesn't apply in Sarawak. Instead, we use the Business Names Ordinance (Chapter 64 Laws of Sarawak) and Business, Professional & Trades Licensing Ordinance (Chapter 33 Laws of Sarawak). 

Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer, please don't whack me if the information I provide is wrong, haha.

Sarawak Business Registration

Please note that this guide is only for registration of sole proprietorship  i.e. a business under your personal name or a trade name, and NOT a Sendirian Berhad (Sdn Bhd) or Perkongisan Liabiliti Terhad (PLT).

You should know the difference between a sole proprietorship vs company or PLT before starting a business. Anyway, I'll breakdown the process to easy bite-sized pieces for you to digest.

Part 1: Name Search Process

  1. Head to Wisma Hasil (Ting Pek Khing building opposite Top Spot Seafood)
  2. Proceed to 2nd floor.
  3. Find the "SLIP CARIAN NAMA PERNIAGAAN". It should be on the table next to the ticket machine.
  4. Fill in at least 2 names if you intend to use Trade Name (i.e. not your own name).  Fill in the nature of business, and complete the rest of the form.
  5. Get a number. Select the "pendaftaran perniagaan" option. Wait for your turn.
  6. The officer will see whether your name can be approved or not. If approved, you'll get a stack of documents to fill.

 These documents should include:

  • Borang IRD No.8 (Trade license application form)
  • Borang R20 (Business Names Ordinance form)
  • Borang TL from Jabatan Statistik

Fill out all the forms as required. If your specific business require another special license, please check with DBKU/MBKS/MPP for information.

Please note that your Name Search is valid for 10 days only. You need to complete your business registration within this period.

Part 2: Business Address & Business Stamp

If you already have a business premise, then great! But if you're poor like me, you probably need to rent one.  Many people rent a business address from third party. It's a great workaround option if you don't intend to rent a permanent premise or shop lot. The company I use is iCube Innovation at iCom Square. Costs about RM300 per year, and they will help receive your mail.

Whichever company you use, make sure you get the

  • Tenancy Agreement
  • Land Title 

 The company you signed up with or your landlord should be able to provide you with this.

After you get your tenancy agreement, you need to make a business stamp with the FULL address.

Part 3: Form Submission

  1. Go back to LHDN building.
  2. Get your Tenancy Agreement stamped at the stamp duty counter. Costs RM10.
  3. Take number for new business registration again.
  4. Proceed to submit all your forms to the counter. They will check through and make sure everything is in order.
  5. Pay the fees for your business registration. This should come up to about RM77.
  6. Make sure to get the receipt. You'll need this to collect your business license later.

Collection of your business license

From the submission day until the actual business certificate collection, it was about 2 weeks. So suffice to say that it takes at least 2 weeks to get a business or sole proprietorship properly registered here in Kuching, which is disappointing to say the least. It tells your volumes about the business competitiveness in the state.

Do note that you can have a representative to help you collect the business license.

  1. Bring your payment receipt (the green slip) back to LHDN office.
  2. Go back to the counter where you submitted your form. 
  3. Collect your business certificate. Done!

Conclusion

The whole registration process is quite tedious to say the least, as compared to how it's done over in West Malaysia. For those who are not from around here, I can see why it'll be quite difficult to set up shop and expand operations to this side of the country. The infrastructure is simply not up to par.

That being said, maybe it's all on purpose to prevent outsiders from flooding the market? After all, as they say, Sarawak is a gold mine.. 

About the author

Ian

Blogger and doctorpreneur. I write about stuff.

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