How to Setup a Hotel Company in Malaysia

In the year 2014 – Malaysia is one of the world top 10th ranking as Tourist Destination. Malaysia also the top no.1 in Muslim tourism in the world ranking. Malaysia welcomes foreigners to participate further liberalized of 100% foreign ownership for the hotel ranking of 4 stars and above in the hotel investment for its robust tourism industry. It is very lucrative to be in the hotel business in Malaysia.

1. How to start Hotel Business in Malaysia – The licensing components

As a hotelier to start operating the business activities in the hotel, there will be 4 major approvals needed. These major approvals can be applied concurrently. The Composite License to carry out the hotel business’ activities vary according to the hotel’s star rating.

Example, for a 5 stars hotel, the Composite License comprised of:

  1. Hotel/lodging
  2. Bar/Lounge
  3. Banquet/conference hall
  4. Entertainment/performance activities
  5. Restaurant/coffee house
  6. Swimming pool for adult and children
  7. Parking lot
  8. Launderette
  9. Health club/ gymnasium/ sauna/ outdoor and indoor facilities
  10. Beauty/ Hair salon
  11. Souvenir shop and drug store
  12. All signboard advertisements


As for the legality aspects of starting up hotel business, on the assumption that the hotel building is completed and ready to be occupied, you are required to apply minimum of 12 approvals to start the business depends on the rating of the hotel you intend to start. However, you may also apply for a maximum of 22 approvals, depending on the number of business activities you intend to provide in the hotel.

The 22 approvals can be categorized into 4 stages:

    • Stage 1: Company Incorporation
    • Stage 2: Employer/Employee Registration
    • Stage 3: Pre Operational Approvals
    • Stage 4: Additional Approvals

2. How to start Hotel Business in Malaysia – The easy way

To simplify your hotel investment and quick start-up, it is always easier to buy over or take over existing hotel available for sale where all licenses are intact and ready to operate.

For example for investment size of USD 2 million, the budget hotel rooms can range from 30 to 50 bedded depends on location. Alternatively, you can opt for operate a chain under licensing (similar to franchise).