WRT License in Malaysia: Application Process and Requirements

WRT License in Malaysia: Application Process and Requirements


Malaysia is a prime destination for businesses looking to expand into Southeast Asia, thanks to its robust economy, strategic location, and business-friendly policies. For foreign-owned companies wishing to engage in wholesale, retail, and trade (WRT) activities, obtaining a WRT License is essential. This article provides a comprehensive guide on the WRT License in Malaysia, detailing the application process and requirements to help businesses navigate this critical step.

What is a WRT License?

Definition and Purpose

The Wholesale, Retail, and Trade (WRT) License is a mandatory permit for foreign-owned companies in Malaysia that wish to engage in wholesale, retail, and trade activities. This license ensures that businesses comply with local regulations and contribute to the Malaysian economy while protecting the interests of local traders.

Activities Covered

The WRT License covers a range of activities, including:

  • Wholesale trading
  • Retail trading
  • Franchise operations
  • Distributive trading
  • Import and export activities

Eligibility Criteria

General Requirements

To qualify for a WRT License, foreign-owned companies must meet the following general requirements:

  • Paid-Up Capital: The company must have a minimum paid-up capital of RM 1 million.
  • Business Premises: The company must have a registered business premise in Malaysia.
  • Local Employment: The company should employ a minimum number of local employees, typically around 50% of the total workforce.

Specific Industry Requirements

Certain industries may have additional requirements. It’s crucial to check the specific regulations for your industry to ensure compliance. For example, specific sectors like food and beverage, automotive, and pharmaceuticals may have unique requirements.

Application Process

Step 1: Company Registration

Before applying for a WRT License, the company must be registered with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM). This involves:

  • Submitting the company’s Memorandum and Articles of Association
  • Providing details of directors and shareholders
  • Registering the business premises

Step 2: Prepare Documentation

Gathering the necessary documentation is a crucial step in the application process. The required documents typically include:

  • Application Form: Completed and signed application form
  • Company Profile: Detailed information about the company’s background, structure, and operations
  • Business Plan: Comprehensive business plan outlining the company’s activities, market analysis, and financial projections
  • Tenancy Agreement: Copy of the business premises tenancy agreement
  • Financial Statements: Recent financial statements or audited accounts
  • Directors’ and Shareholders’ Information: Copies of passports and other identification documents
  • Employment Plan: Details about the number of local and foreign employees

Step 3: Submission to MDTCC

Submit the completed application and supporting documents to the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (MDTCC). The submission can be done online through the MDTCC’s portal or manually at the MDTCC office.

Step 4: Review and Approval

The MDTCC will review the application and may request additional information or documents. The review process typically takes four to six weeks. During this period, the company may be asked to provide clarifications or attend an interview.

Step 5: License Issuance

Upon approval, the WRT License will be issued. The company can then legally engage in wholesale, retail, and trade activities in Malaysia.

Key Considerations

Understanding Local Market Conditions

Foreign companies must thoroughly understand local market conditions and consumer behavior to succeed in Malaysia. Conducting market research and leveraging local expertise can help in making informed business decisions.

Legal and Regulatory Environment

Navigating the legal and regulatory environment in Malaysia can be complex. It is advisable to seek professional assistance from legal experts or business consultants to ensure compliance with all requirements.

Cultural Sensitivity

Malaysia is a multicultural society with diverse consumer preferences. Being culturally sensitive and adapting business strategies to local tastes can enhance the company’s market presence and customer relationships.

Challenges and Solutions

Bureaucratic Hurdles

The application process for a WRT License can be bureaucratic and time-consuming. Companies should be prepared for potential delays and ensure that all documents are complete and accurate to avoid unnecessary complications.

Solution: Maintain regular communication with the MDTCC and follow up on the application status. Consider hiring a local consultant familiar with the process to assist with the application.

Language Barrier

While English is widely spoken in Malaysia, official documents and communications may be in Malay. This can pose a challenge for foreign companies unfamiliar with the language.

Solution: Hire local staff or translators to assist with document preparation and communication with authorities. Many professional service firms also offer translation services.

Staying Updated with Regulations

Malaysian regulations are subject to change. Companies should stay updated with the latest laws and guidelines to maintain compliance and avoid penalties.

Solution: Subscribe to official publications, join local business associations, and engage with legal advisors who can provide updates on regulatory changes.

Renewal and Compliance

Renewal Process

The WRT License is typically valid for one to two years and must be renewed before its expiration. The renewal process involves submitting updated documents, such as financial statements and business plans, to demonstrate continued compliance with the license requirements.

Compliance Requirements

Companies holding a WRT License must adhere to Malaysian laws and regulations, including:

  • Employment Laws: Complying with local employment laws, including hiring practices and labor standards
  • Tax Regulations: Registering with the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia and fulfilling tax obligations
  • Business Operations: Ensuring that business activities align with the scope defined in the WRT License

Benefits of Obtaining a WRT License

Legal Operation

Obtaining a WRT License allows foreign-owned companies to operate legally in Malaysia, providing peace of mind and avoiding legal complications.

Market Access

With a WRT License, companies can tap into the lucrative Malaysian market, leveraging the country’s strategic location and growing economy.

Enhanced Credibility

Holding a WRT License enhances the company’s credibility with customers, suppliers, and partners, fostering trust and facilitating business relationships.


Obtaining a WRT License in Malaysia is a crucial step for foreign-owned companies wishing to engage in wholesale, retail, and trade activities. By understanding the application process and requirements, and addressing potential challenges proactively, businesses can navigate the licensing process successfully. With the right preparation and support, companies can capitalize on the opportunities presented by Malaysia’s vibrant market, driving growth and success in this dynamic region.


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