Business Licences & Other Permits for Restaurants in Malaysia

Business Licenses & Other Permits for Restaurants in Malaysia

One cannot just cook good food and start a restaurant in Malaysia; there are several business licenses that one requires for legal operation. Apart from the usual obligatory permits, you will require additional licenses depending on your clientele and the atmosphere that you want to create. As a general rule, attached cost increase with the increased level of an upscale and sophisticated restaurant concept.

The article provides a brief summary of the compulsory licenses and commonly optional licenses that are necessary for opening an F&B outlet in Malaysia. In this section, as we discuss each license, sections to be covered will include the amount of time taken to get a license, issuing authority and any relevant best practices or considerations. It should be noted that it is assumed you have registered an SSM enterprise or Sdn Bhd, since these registration documents are required when one wants to apply for business licenses.

Do not worry if you do not know how to register, read on and at the end of it is a link to prepare your incorporation. Furthermore, whereas cost of licenses issued by the federal bodies would be indicated; those that are locally based are priced under utilities as decided upon Local Authorities and, on account of numerous nature in some scenarios it is also not feasible to this rolled individually curred out.

Key Takeaways:

  • A Premise and Signboard License is mandatory for every restaurant in Malaysia. The validity of the license is usually for one year and is issued by Local Authorities
  • On top of the mandatory license, business owners may need to apply for Halal Certification, Liquor Licenses, Wholesale, Retail, and Trade Licenses and Music and Performance Licenses
  • Halal Certification requires the food served in the restaurant be prepared and served in compliance with Islamic law.
  • Music Authors’ Copyright Protection Berhad License (MACP) is a mandatory license for restaurants that play copyrighted music. MACP determines the price of the licensing fee based on the type and size of the eatery. The application process for obtaining the license involves filling out a form and submitting necessary documentation.

Mandatory License

Whether your restaurant offers pocket-friendly fried rice dishes or luxurious Wagyu steaks, having a valid premise license and signboard license is vital.

Overview of Premise & Signboard License

These licenses are given by the Local Authorities, or Pihak Berkuasa Tempatan (PBT), that manage your district. All these licenses jointly certify that your premises conform to the relevant health and safety requirements and verify that your signboard provides a truthful representation of what you do.

Premise & Signboard License Malaysia - FastLane


To secure a premise license for your Food and Beverage (F&B) outlet, you must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Business registration documents from SSM.
  • A certified food handling course with the Ministry of Health.
  • Administering typhoid injections for both yourself and your employees.
  • The premise inspection carried out by the Local Authorities’ officers were passed successfully.

It should be noted that different Local Authorities such as MBP, DBKL, and other may have stipulated unique requirement which includes safety standards , pests control measures ,customer amenity facilities and even the premises location besides design layout of interior. For example, certain municipalities require the use of alternative floor materials depending on whether the space is air-conditioned or not. 

Your best action is either to carry out a premises inspection, seek advice from a business adviser, notify the relevant Local Authority or consult an official check list available online.

Application Duration, Length of Validity & The Cost

However, please be assured that the Local Authorities will take about 2-4 weeks from date of application to deliver both your premise and signboard license. Usually, such licenses are issued for 12 months from the issuance date and may be renewed for another one-year period after filing an application request therefor.

In some cases, certain local jurisdictions use a prorated application method that is calendar-year based. It means that despite being issued not later than on December 31, the license expires also on this date, and the fee is estimated for only those months, during which it remains in force.

Speaking about the price, differences are observed not only by jurisdiction in different states but also they depend on the place where you have a restaurant and its size.

Type of EstablishmentDining Floor AreaAnnual License Fee (RM)
Restaurants, coffee shops, eateries, milk bars, snack bars, bars, public houses, canteens, and cafeterias(a) ≤ 90 sqm200
(b) > 90 sqm and ≤ 120 sqm300
(c) > 120 sqm400
Food Courts200
Food Stall within Licensed Premises100

The official guidelines by DBKL (Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur) can be found at this page, however it is worth to mention that the content is in Bahasa Melayu. Furthermore, these directives apply specifically to businesses within DBKL’s jurisdiction.

Optional Licenses

Optional licenses become relevant based on the type of a restaurant you plan to establish in Malaysia, i.e. whether it should work with a wide range of culinary dishes apart from particular ones like mee goreng or wagyu steak. Naturally, these licenses, by default, are not obligatory and depend on the specifics of what is represented in your restaurant.

1. Public House Liquor License

Issuing body: Local Authority

If you decide to serve alcohol on the premise, you will need to apply for the Public House Liquor License from your Local Authorities. There are specific conditions that must be followed; for example,owner has to take part in a police interview to avoid the process of selling alcohol illegally. In addition to that, your premises need to be positioned at a certain distance from mosques, schools or Residential areas predominantly inhabited by Muslims.

2. Halal Certification

Issuing body: Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM)

If most of your target consumers are Muslims, then it means that obtaining a Halal certification can give you an added advantage over other firms. It should be mentioned that Malaysia has strict Halal rules and any premises with the Halal certification cannot serve alcohol on site.Upon submission, officials will undertake an inspection of your premises and may also collect samples for laboratory analysis (cost borne by the applicant) from the nearest JAKIM. For restaurants, the certification fee is RM200 per premise and such Halal certification remains effective for two years.

3. Music and Entertainment Licenses

Two related activities that need separate licenses here:

Issuing body: Music Authors Copyright Protection (MACP) Berhad

If you are all the time playing K-pop hits and Taylor Swift songs in your restaurant to attract customers, it means that you earn money with the help of their work. However, to stay within copyright laws, you need to get a license from MACP (Music Authors’ Copyright Protection). In terms of restaurant pricing, the license cost falls between RM 847 and RM1,376 for a one year validation period.

It is crucial to mention that the fees for songs and performances, recorded or live, DJs or patrons during a karaoke night are billed independently are mandated by different rates.

4. Public Performance License

Issuing body: Music Authors Copyright Protection (MACP) Berhad

For live performance containing licensed songs, you must obtain another Public Performance License. The price for this license can be as low as RM1,200 or up to RM27,000 depending on the number of patrons and whether the performance serves as a primary cast pull in apparatus. Similar to the prior Permit, this license remains valid for a period of one year.

5. Wholesale, Retail, & Trade (WRT) License

Issuing body: Ministry of Domestic Trade (KPDN)

If you are a foreigner with the intentions of setting up a restaurant owned by more than 50% foreigners, then you have to apply for a WRT License from the Ministry of Domestic Trade (KPDN). This license is specially meant for the regulation of foreign participation in distributive trade within Malaysia. The admitting fee is RM3, 000 and the procedure of approval usually lasts for 1 to 3 months. The WRT License becomes valid for a period of two years upon approval.

Instead, provide more simple process of obtaining this license; you may enter into a partnership with a local shareholder or director. This way, you will also avoid applying for the WRT License and have an opportunity to benefit from being considered a local business that complies with the law.

6. Private Car Park License

Issuing body: Local Authority

For example, if your restaurant is near a busy street without much parking facilities, but there’s vacant land nearby that could be turned into a parking lot you would have to design the parking facility very carefully. As you do with the restaurant interior, All these plans be submitted to your Local Authorities. Just like the previous restaurant inspection that will be carried out by such officials, it is apparent that they will inspect the parking lot as well to determine whether it meets all sufficient conditions.

How FastLane can Help?

FastLane Group provides exceptional company incorporation services to both foreign enterprises and local firms in the beautiful country of Malaysia. With our expertise and comprehensive knowledge of the local business landscape, we ensure a smooth and hassle-free process for establishing your business presence in this vibrant economy.

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