The whole process of registering a business, especially an Enterprise, in Kuching can be quite a lengthy and tiring process. The lack of information on the registration process certainly does not help aspiring business owners.
The first thing to note is that the registration of new businesses in Kuching, Sarawak goes through Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negara (LHDN) instead of Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (SSM). At the moment of this update, there is no online process for it.
Businesses in Sarawak are governed by the Ordinances below instead of the Registration of Business Act (ROBA) 1956;
- Business Names Ordinance (Laws of Sarawak Chapter 64)
- Business, Professional & Trades Licensing Ordinance (Laws of Sarawak Chapter 33)
So here is a step-by-step process on how to get your company registered in just 3 weeks.
Step 1 - Brainstorm Company Names & Business Nature
The right business name differentiates you from your competitors. Selecting a professional yet unique name for your business is of utmost importance in making the right impression to your potential customers or clients.
On that note, it is important to brainstorm some potential names for your business. Keep in mind that it has to be relevant to your intended business nature.
For example, it would be irrelevant if you were to name your company, XYZ Construction Company, but you are doing apparel wholesale business.
A good tip is to do some localized research online on whether others have taken your proposed names. This may also help to survey if your potential names are too similar to a competitor or another company with a totally different business nature.
For registration purposes at LHDN, you have to list out at least 3 potential names for your business and its nature of business.
Step 2 - Identify & Secure Commercial Address
Location has always been an important criterion in setting up a business. Despite the rise of cloud businesses and online stores, a physical business address affects how the business is being perceived.
Some factors to consider would be your target market and how convenient it is for them to possibly drop by for a visit.
After you have found your ideal location, you will have to secure it with the Landlord or property agent.
If you are unable to rent a commercial lot for the moment due to low capital, you may consider renting a Virtual Office or Business Registration Address.
For registration purposes, these are the documents you need for LHDN:
- Tenancy Agreement or Sales and Purchase Agreement
- Lease of Land
- Print-Out of Title
Step 3 - Business Name Search
Drop by Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri LHDN office in Kuching to determine the availability of your proposed business name. You have to head to the Business Name Search counter / kaunter Pencarian Nama Perniagaan (PNP) on the first floor.
Do take note of the operating hours and SOP before dropping by LHDN. Due to the pandemic, they only allow a certain amount of people inside the building. We would suggest you to go early in the morning to beat the crowd.
Image source via LHDN Sarawak
Fill up the Business Name Search slip with 3 choices of names for your business, proposed type of business and other information as needed.
The LHDN officer will let you know which name is available for you to move forward with the registration. He or she will also hand you a checklist of documents needed to be attached to an A3-sized form for you to fill up.
Depending on the nature of the business, you may require additional documents or approval letters from different authorities such as the Police or City Council (MBKS or DBKU).
Image source via LHDN Sarawak
If you have not gotten your Tenancy Agreement stamped, you will need to have it stamped at the Stamp Duty counter before submitting your documents. An important thing to note is that you have only 10 days to complete and finalize your business registration. You will also need to create a business stamp with a complete commercial address, which may take a few hours to a few days.
Step 4 - Business Registration
Head back to Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri LHDN office to complete your registration. Submit all the forms and necessary documents to the officer at the PNP counter.
Make sure you ask for the receipt of payment as you will need it to collect your trade license later. It would normally take about 2 weeks for your trade license to be ready.
There you go! That’s pretty much all the steps of registering an Enterprise in Sarawak.
Unable to register because you don’t have an office? Check out our next article about a low-cost Virtual Office solution.
Cover Photo and Images source via Canva