Open a Catering Company in Malaysia

Updated on Friday 11th January 2019

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The foodservice sector in Malaysia increased at the level of 2017 and it was characterized by an expansion of the home delivery demand. Businessmen who want to open a company in Malaysia in the foodservice sector as a catering business should also know that the highest development was registered in the case of food chains. There was observed a high demand for catering businesses that had as a primary business activity home deliveries or takeaways. In terms of sales, this type of activity, alongside with cafes and bars, had the highest growth in 2017. 
The sector is expected to grow in the following years as well, due to the fact that the Malaysian citizens have limited free time and prefer to dine out or to order food, but also due to the fact that dining out is considered a leisure activity in Malaysia
It is necessary to know that positive business prospects are available for both chained foodservice businesses, but also for independent companies; our team of specialists in company registration in Malaysia can provide in-depth information on how to start a business in this sector and can also inform businessmen on the food regulations that must be respected by all food providers in this country.  

What are the main regulations for food operators in Malaysia? 

Businessmen who want to open a catering business in Malaysia are expected to comply with the regulations concerning food safety. Thus, any business operator is required to respect the applicable legislation, which is defined by a set of legal acts; the most important regulations are presented below: 
  • the Food Act – the main rule of law which regulates the activity of any food operator in Malaysia;
  • the Food Regulations 1985 – the act was modified in 2009 by including new provisions for the usage of specific types of products;
  • the Food Hygiene Regulations – it defines the manner in which any food business has to ensure that the company’s premises respect the safety and health requirements;
  • the Food Regulations 2009 (Issuance of Health Certificates for Export of Fish and Fish Products to the European Union). 

What does food premises mean under the Malaysia legislation? 

When starting a catering business in Malaysia, the company’s representatives will have to make sure that the premises in which the food products are stored, handled, processed and sold respect the applicable legislation. The definition of a food premises is defined under the Food Hygiene Regulations 2009, which prescribes that food premises can be any type of structure that is set up for the purpose of selling food products
The term refers to any fixed premises, set up in a building, or to movable premises, set up in a open, public space. In the latter case, it includes bicycles, vehicles, tents and any other similar structures. It is necessary to know that the term considers a food premises to be not only the place where the food is sold, but it also takes into consideration the means of distribution, preservation, storage and so on. Our team of consultants in company formation in Malaysia can provide investors with more details concerning this matter.  

What are the minimum requirements for food premises in Malaysia? 

After having completed the procedure of company formation in Malaysia by following the standard registration available for commercial enterprises, the company’s representatives will have to make sure that the food premises respects a set of criteria. As stated by the applicable legislation, some of the compulsory requirements are: 
  • the respective space should be constructed in such a manner that is allows the good hygiene practices;
  • it must also have an appropriate source of drinking water and benefit from sufficient light (natural or artificial);
  • take all the necessary measures against any pests and allow regular controls from the authorities in charge with this procedure;
  • provide separate hand washing facilities and ensure a suitable ventilation system. 

Are there any requirements for the import-export of food in Malaysia? 

Yes, in the situation in which the catering business registered in Malaysia wants to import food products in this country, it is necessary to know that imports have to be approved by the country’s Health Ministry, the Veterinary Department and the Fishery Department, which are in charge with providing the necessary certificates on the matter. 
Businessmen are invited to contact our team of consultants in company registration in Malaysia for further information on the business licenses that are necessary for any food operator; our representatives can assist with information on the documents that have to be submitted when applying for a specific type of license.