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Foreigners Buying Commercial Property and Industrial Land in Malaysia

Foreign citizens can buy offices, shops, retail spaces and factories in Malaysia in much the same way as they can buy residential property as long as the property is valued at more than 500,000 ringgit. According to the federal government’s EPU (Economic Planning Unit) Guidelines which are in force since 30 June 2009 no EPU approval is needed for the purchase.

A foreign buyer only needs to apply for EPU consent if he buys a property from a Bumiputera (a Malay or indigene person) or from the government that is valued at more than twenty million ringgit. Other than in such cases the foreign buyer does not need to apply for EPU consent.

However, all foreign acquisition of commercial or industrial property in Malaysia must be done via a locally incorporated company.

This locally incorporated company is allowed to be 100% foreign-owned .

In addition to the EPU guidelines, the overseas investor must also comply with the land rules of the State in Malaysia in which the property is located because all foreign buyers of real property in Malaysia are required by section 433B of the National Land Code 1965 (NLC) to first obtain the approval of the state government for the purchase unless the shares in the Malaysian incorporated purchaser company is held 51% or more by Malaysian citizens and is therefore considered not to be a “foreign company” under section 433A of the NLC.

THIS CONTENT SHOULD NOT BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE.

Kerk Boon Leng