Autonomous Liberalisation

With the autonomous liberalisation of a number of important services sub-sectors, foreigners are allowed to own businesses in Malaysia or in partnership with locals. This has helped and is helping to enhance the skills of Malaysians and in assisting them to establish business links overseas.

In April 2009, 27 services sub-sectors were opened up and an additional 18 sub-sectors are being progressively opened to up to 100% foreign ownership in 2012.

The decision to liberalise the first 8 sectors covering 27 sub-sectors was undertaken to strengthen the Malaysian economy to face the challenges of globalisation, and to restructure the economy to take advantage of the growth potential in the services sector.

With autonomous liberalisation come the benefits of

  • Attracting foreign investment
  • Encouraging the transfer of specialised expertise and technology
  • Opportunities for joint ventures
  • Injecting competitiveness
  • Creating high-value jobs
  • Providing a wider choice to consumers

The list of the 27 sub-sectors is as follows:

a. Computer and Related Services

  • Consultancy services related to the installation of computer hardware;
  • Software implementation services - systems and software consulting services; systems analysis services; systems design services; programming services and systems maintenance services;
  • Data processing services - input preparation services; data processing and tabulation services; time sharing services and other data processing services;
  • Data base services;
  • Maintenance and Repair Services of Computers;
  • Other services - data preparation services; training services; data recovery services; and development of creative content;

b. Health and Social Services

  • All veterinary services;
  • Welfare services delivered through residential institutions to aged and the handicapped;
  • Welfare services delivered through residential institutions to children;
  • Child day-care services including day-care services for the handicapped;
  • Vocational rehabilitation services for handicapped;

Tourism Services

  • Theme Park;
  • Convention and Exhibition Centre (seating capacity of above 5,000);
  • Travel Agencies and Tour Operators Services (For inbound travel only);
  • Hotel and Restaurant services (for 4 and 5 star hotels only);
  • Food Serving Services (for services provided in 4 and 5 star hotels only);
  • Beverage Serving Services for consumption on the premises (for services provided in 4 and 5 star hotels only);

Transport Services

  • Class C Freight Transportation (Private Carrier Licence – to transport own goods);

Sporting and other recreational services

  • Sporting Services (Sports event promotion and organisation services);

Business Services

  • Regional Distribution Centres;
  • International Procurement Centres;
  • Technical Testing and Analysis Services - composition and purity testing and analysis services, testing and analysis services of physical properties, testing and analysis services of integrated mechanical and electrical systems, and technical inspection services;
  • Management Consulting Services - general, financial (excluding business tax), marketing, human resources, production and public relations services;

Rental/Leasing Services without Operators

  • Rental/Leasing services of ships that excludes cabotage and offshore trades;
  • Rental of cargo vessels without crew (Bareboat Charter) for international shipping;

Supporting and Auxiliary Transport Services

  • Maritime Agency services; and
  • Vessel salvage and refloating services.

To accelerate and attract investment, the Government announced the liberalisation in phases of another 7 sectors involving 18 services sub-sectors in 2012.

The list of the 18 Services Sub-Sectors is as follows:

  • Telecommunications for Application Service Provider – ASP licence;
  • Technical and Vocational Schools;
  • Technical and Vocational Schools for students with special needs;
  • Private Hospitals;
  • Departmental and Specialty stores;
  • Incineration services;
  • Accounting (including audit) and Taxation;
  • Skills Training Centres; and
  • Courier services.  
  • International Schools;
  • Telecommunications for Network Service Provider - NSP and Network Facilities Provider - NFP licences;
  • Private Universities;
  • Medical Specialist Clinics;
  • Dental Specialist Clinics;
  • Legal services;
  • Architectural services;
  • Engineering services; and
  • Quantity Surveying services.

Selecting a sub-sector will give you the scope and the framework to establish your business.


Application Service Provider (ASP) Licence View Details
Courier Services View Details
Private Higher Education with University Status View Details
International Schools View Details
Technical and Vocational Secondary Education Services for students View Details
Technical and Vocational Secondary Education Services for students with special needs View Details
Skill Training Centre View Details
Private Hospital Services View Details
Specialised Medical Services View Details
Special Dental Services View Details
Departmental Stores & Speciality Stores View Details
Incineration Services View Details
Accounting & Taxation Services View Details
Network Facilities Provider & Network Services Providers Licences View Details
Architectural Services View Details
Legal Services View Details
Engineering Services View Details
Quantity Surveying View Details