Set Your Asian Base of Office Operations in Malaysia

If you’re desiring to set up a base of operation abroad, particularly in Asia, then Malaysia is worth a look. This southeastern Asian nation is home to nearly 30 million people with nearly one-quarter of Malaysians living in and around Kuala Lumpur — its capital and largest city. The city’s modern skyline with the Petronas Twin Towers as its anchor, offers ample places for businesses to set up shop. Read on for information on Malaysian tenancy, especially in Kuala Lumpur.

KLCC Indeed

English: The Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur a...

The Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur at night.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For companies exploring Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur offers ease of access to the entire Asian continent as well as to Oceania and beyond. Most multinational corporations set up shop in the KLCC — Kuala Lumpur City Centre, the location of the Petronas Twin Towers. Yes, you can lease space in the towers or look at buildings in the general vicinity. The towers, of course, represent one of the most prestigious addresses in the world, enabling tenants to enjoy an instantly recognizable address as well as a phenomenal view of the peninsula.

Tenancy Considerations

The KLCC has ample leasing properties for businesses of all sizes including in the twin towers. Unlike some cities where space is at a premium, the KLCC district offers companies a variety of tenancy options.

Typically, businesses will sign a two-year rental agreement with an option to renew for one year. Known as a 2+1 tenancy agreement, the tenant is the one that seeks to renew for the third year. In Malaysian legal parlance, tenancy under three years is known as a tenancy contract. If longer than three years, then it is a called a lease agreement.

If businesses understand what their long-term needs will be in Malaysia, they most certainly can lock in a long-term lease agreement. This has several advantages including knowing what your costs will be for the next several years, establishing a permanent (more or less) address and becoming part of the local business community. That community includes people from all over the world.

Malaysian Legality

Foreign nationals should be aware that the Malaysian legal system operates a bit differently from what they may be accustomed to. Different, however, does not mean it is not business friendly — the country has a long history of welcoming multinational companies and is proud that businesses large and small have chosen Malaysia.

In Malaysia, a tenancy agreement is drafted by the landlord’s attorney and legal fees are paid by the tenant. Prospect tenants may, of course, retain the services of a Malaysian attorney, a professional that will work with your company’s legal representatives to ensure that the tenancy or lease agreement represents your interests.

Tenancy agreements are stamped by the government, a move that covers a fee that is based on the amount of the monthly rental payable and the tenancy period. Stamping is a legal requirement, one that protects both parties in court.

Agreement Notes

When working with a Malaysian office representative, every effort will be made to find a location that meets your precise requirements. Once a location has been found, prospective tenant will provide earnest money to secure the premises. That amount is equal to the first month’s rent and is separate from the three months security deposit and the one month utility deposit. At the end of the agreement, both deposits are refunded without interest as long as all outstanding bills have been paid and the premises are tentable.

Required renovations are another cost, one that the tenant pays directly to the landlord. Many KLCC properties are “green” or ready to be outfitted and may only have cement flooring and a suspended ceiling in place. Some are already semi-furnished, with carpeting and partitions in place. Fully furnished office space is also available and comes with everything that a business needs to set up shop in Malaysia. This last choice is sometimes favored by international businesses that are looking to ease entry into Malaysia.

Rental Miscellany

The climate in Malaysia is tropical with year round temperatures averaging about 90 degrees. Air-conditioning, although widely used, is may not be hooked up to a central air-conditioning system in all buildings. Customarily, KLCC buildings run air conditioning from 8 a.m to 6 p.m, weekdays and for half the day on Saturday. Most modern buildings offer parking spaces, typically setting aside one space for every 1,000 square feet rented. This means that your 10,000 square-foot building will allow you 10 parking spots, not something you find in many large cities including New York, London, Tokyo and Cairo.

Author Information

Jason Lee works with high quality office space in Malaysia and specializes in properties for

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