Rules and Regulations on purchasing and selling of properties in Malaysia for foreigners
Currently the guidelines governing the acquisition of property in M’sia by foreigners are provided by the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) of the Prime Minister Department. Although the Federal Government (i.e. EPU) sets the bar, each State within the country is free to decide not to follow this as land is a state matter. For most property purchases, foreigners are not required to obtain approval from EPU but are still required to obtain approval for the acquisition of a property from the respective state authorities pursuant to the provisions of section 433B (‘Non-citizens and foreign companies may acquire, etc., land only with approval of State Authority’) of the National Land Code (NLC). A foreigner is also required to comply with the purchase price threshold set by the various state governments.
However, there are instances where an approval from the EPU is required and they are as follows:
- All property acquisitions, except for residential units, that are the direct acquisition of property valued @ RM 20 million and above, resulting in the dilution in the ownership of property held by Bumiputera interest and/ or government agency; and
- All property acquisitions, except for residential units, that are the indirect acquisition of property by other than Bumiputera interest through acquisition of shares, resulting in a change of control of the company owned by Bumiputera interest and/ or government agency having property more than 50 percent of its total assets and the said property is valued more than RM 20 million.
Generally, foreigners are not allowed to acquire the following:
- Residential units under the category of low and low-medium cost as determined by the State Authority
- Properties built on Malay Reserved Land; and
- Properties allocated to Bumiputera interest in any property development project as determined by the State Authority
For your information for disposing a property in Malaysia, a foreigner need not obtain an approval from the authorities.
Purchase price threshold set by the various State Governments for purchase of properties by foreigners – see below. Some states have set lower limits for people holding the MM2H Visa.
Sources: Homefinder.com The Expat Property Guide, MM2H, Economic Planning Unit (EPU) of the Prime Minister’s Department, Malaysian Property Incorporated (MPI) and the various State Government Guidelines.