Malaysia is the ninth simplest place to do business in Asia excluding Australia and Oceania, according to a new report by administrative services provider TMF Group.
The Global Business Complexity Index, which compares key administrative and compliance demands, ranked the country 25th most complex overall out of 76 jurisdictions that were analysed worldwide, said TMF.
Among its regional neighbours, Thailand (73rd), South Korea (61st), Japan (59th), Hong Kong (56th), Taiwan (46th), Singapore (42nd), Vietnam (27th) and India (28th) were all seen as more straightforward environments for international firms.
Globally, the Cayman Islands was the least complex country of all 76 surveyed while Greece tops the index as the world’s most complex business environment, according to the index.
Malaysia was however, deemed less complex than the Philippines (20th), China (9th), and Indonesia (2nd), the company pointed out.
There have been efforts from the Malaysian government and the government agencies to make it more conducive for people to do business in Malaysia, said Sharon Yam, TMF Group’s managing director for Malaysia.
From the Companies Act 2016 and Companies Regulations 2017, a single online ‘superform’ was introduced to replace the multiple forms which were previously required by business individuals who want to incorporate a company in Malaysia, she noted.
While digitalization reduces the complexity via online submission, Malaysia’s digital infrastructure is still not as mature yet and further investment is required.
The index was based on a combination of statistically weighted data and qualitative research among local market experts, according to TMF.
It focuses on three areas: rules, regulations and penalties; accounting and tax; and hiring, firing and paying employees, the firm added
In terms of HR practices, Malaysia was seen to have a strong labour law wherein the services of an employee cannot be terminated unless there is just cause, or good reasons provided objectively and not just from the employer’s perspective, TMF said.
“Malaysia still has plenty of attractive advantages for businesses looking to set up here or get established. It’s legal and accounting practices are derived from the British system and familiar to most international companies,” Yam observed.
In the area of accounting and tax, for example, it scores well for its adherence to IFRS, compared with much of the rest of the region which continues to use a local GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) framework, she added.