Approval Of Manufacturing Projects Malaysia



Malaysia's Industrial Co-ordination Act 1975 (ICA) aims to secure orderly development and growth in the country's manufacturing sector.

The ICA requires manufacturing companies with shareholders' funds of RM2.5 million and above or engaging 75 or more full-time employees to apply for a manufacturing licence for approval by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI).

Applications for manufacturing licences are to be submitted to the Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (MIDA), an agency under MITI in charge of the promotion and coordination of industrial development in Malaysia.

The ICA defines:

  1. "Manufacturing activity" as the making, altering, blending, ornamenting, finishing or otherwise treating or adapting any article or substance with a view to its use, sale, transport, delivery or disposal; and includes the assembly of parts and ship repairing but shall not include any activity normally associated with retail or wholesale trade.
  2. "Shareholders' funds" as the aggregate amount of a company's paid-up capital, reserves, balance of share premium account and balance of profit and loss appropriation account, where:
    1. Paid-up capital shall be in respect of preference shares and ordinary shares and not including any amount in respect of bonus shares to the extent they were issued out of capital reserve created by revaluation of fixed assets-Reserves shall be reserves other than any capital reserve created by revaluation of fixed assets and provisions for depreciation, renewals or replacements and diminution in value of assets.
    2. Balance of share premium account shall not include any amount credited therein at the instance of issuing bonus shares at premium out of capital reserve by revaluation of fixed assets.
  3. "Full-time paid employees" as all persons normally working in the establishment for at least six hours a day and at least 20 days a month for 12 months during the year and who receive a salary.

This includes traveling sales, engineering, maintenance and repair personnel who are paid by and are under the control of the establishment.

It also includes directors of incorporated enterprises except those paid solely for their attendance at board of directors meetings. The definition encompasses family workers who receive regular salaries or allowances and who contribute to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) or other superannuation funds.


Malaysia's industrial growth has been rapid over the last decade. This has created a high demand for labour in the manufacturing sector which, in turn, has caused a tightening in the labour market situation.

In view of this, the government's guidelines for approval of industrial projects in Malaysia are based on the Capital Investment Per Employee (C/E) Ratio. Projects with a C/E Ratio of less than RM55,000 are categorised as labour-intensive and thus will not qualify for a manufacturing licence or for tax incentives. Nevertheless, a project will be exempted from the above guidelines if it fulfils one of the following criteria:

  1. The value-added is 30% or more
  2. The Managerial, Technical and Supervisory (MTS) Index is 15% or more
  3. The project undertakes promoted activities or products as listed in the List of Promoted Activities and Products - High Technology Companies)
  4. It is located in the Eastern Corridor of Peninsular Malaysia (the states of Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and the district of Mersing in Johor), Sabah and Sarawak.


A licensed company which desires to expand its production capacity or diversify its product range by manufacturing additional products will need to apply to MIDA