Import and Export Regulation and Process in Malaysia

Earlier this year, Malaysia’s exports see a sharp rise of 10.7% to RM75.6bil in December 2016. The figure actually exceeds the economists’ expectations of a growth of 9.6% which was underpinned by higher exports of electrical and electronic (E&E) products as well as palm oil and palm-based products.

The International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook Database revealed that the Malaysia’s total Gross Domestic Product amounted to $863.8 billion in 2016 and exports accounted for around 20% of total Malaysian economic output. Almost 70% of Malaysian exports (by value) are delivered to Asian countries while 11.6% are shipped to North American countries. While Malaysia is performing well in its exports and imports, it’s crucial for people to know the regulation and process of both export and import in Malaysia. 

Malaysia Import Restrictions and Prohibitions

1. Regulated Goods

Though Malaysia has been progressively liberalizing its tariff regime, some product and service categories are still covered by high tariffs and import licensing provisions. A selected category of goods is regulated to safeguard local manufacturers’ interest and the national security of the country under the Custom Prohibition Act 1967.

Goods covered by the Act are as follow:

  • food & agricultural products
  • motor vehicles
  • audio video recording machines
  • steel products

Anyone can access the complete list of products and application procedures from Ministry of International Trade & Industry.

2. General goods

In Malaysia, import duties (range from 0% to 50%) are imposed on goods that are subject to import duties and imported into the country. The customs duty is based on ad valorem rate, where a percentage will be applied to the dutiable value of the imported goods. In general, raw material, machinery, essential foodstuffs, food commodity, and pharmaceutical products are non-dutiable (or subject to lower rates). The indirect taxes, such as GST are administered by the Royal Customs Malaysia (one of the government agencies of the Ministry of Finance) and collection of duties and taxes are mandatory duties of the custom.

3. Agricultural and food products

Food standards in Malaysia are currently regulated by The Food Act 1983 and the Food Regulation 1985 Malaysia. It’s mandatory for all imported and locally-manufactured food, beverage and edible agricultural products to comply with the guidelines. Furthermore, stricter import guidelines are levied on meat, meat products and food products containing alcohol due to the Muslim population in Malaysian. The development and enforcement of laws relating to meat and meat products as well as the tasks with issuing import permits for livestock, meat and meat products are administered by the Department of Veterinary Services Malaysia.

4. Illicit Drugs

Malaysia imposed heavy punishment on any drug trafficking. The punishment for drug trafficking is death by hanging. As such, all activities of import and export of illicit drugs (eg: morphine, heroine, opium, marijuana, etc.) are strictly prohibited unless they are prescribed drugs. Prescribed drugs can only be imported into or exported from the country with a license issued by the Ministry of Health, Malaysia. 

Malaysia Export Restrictions and Prohibitions

1. Prohibited Products

The following goods are absolutely prohibited from exportation:

  • Turtle eggs
  • Rattan from Peninsula of Malaysia.

2. With Export License/Permit

  • Any animal or bird, other than a domestic animal or domestic fowl, whether alive or dead or any part thereof.
  • Live animals from bovine species.
  • Meat of bovine animals.
  • Plants including orchids.
  • Vegetables, fresh, chilled or frozen in excess 3kg per consignment.
  • Palm kernels and palm seeds.
  • Military clothing and equipment.
  • Arms and ammunition.
  • Antiquities as defined or stated in any written law in Malaysia.
  • Sugar and rice
  • Coral, alive or dead.
  • Live prawns/shrimps/fish.
  • Collections of zoological, botanical, mineralogical, anatomical, historical, archaeological, or ethnographical with numismatic interest.

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