Export, Innovate, Invest - The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service

Import Regulations - Malaysia

November 2015
Produced by the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service

Disclaimer: Be advised that most links are only offered in the language of origin.


Malaysia is member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Malaysia's total trade for 2014 was C$3,214,146,086 with exports and imports amounting to C$793,745,814 and C$2,420,400,272 respectively.

Malaysia also actively participates in regional economic arrangements, such as the AFTA and APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation). With AFTA, Malaysia adopts the early implementation of the common effective preferential tariff (CEPT) scheme which provides for concessional tariffs on intra-ASEAN trade. More than 99 percent of the products in the CEPT Inclusion List (IL) of ASEAN-6, comprising Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand, have been brought down to the 0-5 percent tariff range. Website: www.aseansec.org

Regulated goods

While Malaysia is progressively liberalising its tariff regime, some product and service categories are still protected by high tariffs and import licensing provisions. Under the Custom Prohibition Act 1967, selected category of goods are regulated to safeguard local manufacturers' interest, health and plant life and the national security of the country. The measures are also taken in view of the Malaysia's foreign policies and to ensure that there should be adequate supply of essential goods.

The following are broad categories of goods covered by the Act:

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

Complete list of products and application procedures are available from Ministry of International Trade & Industry: www.miti.gov.my

General goods

Import duties are levied on goods that are subject to import duties and imported into the country. Generally, the rates range from 0% to 50%. Customs duty is based on ad valorem rate (a percentage applied to the dutiable value of the imported goods). Raw material, machinery, essential foodstuffs, food commodity, and pharmaceutical products are generally non-dutiable or subject to lower rates.

The Royal Customs Malaysia is the government agency of the Ministry of Finance responsible for the administration of the indirect taxes. Their mandate is to collect duties and taxes as well as ensure compliance of legislation. For more detailed information on tariff rates, exemptions, sales and service tax, please visit the Royal Customs Malaysia Website: www.customs.gov.my

Agricultural and food products

The Food Act 1983 and the Food Regulation 1985 Malaysia regulate the various aspects of food standards in Malaysia. All food, beverage and edible agricultural products imported or manufactured locally are required to comply with the guidelines. Details of the Act and Guideline are available on the Malaysian Ministry of International Trade & Industry website: Food Act 1983 and Food Regulation 1985.

Strict import guidelines are imposed on meat and food products containing meat and alcohol because over half of the Malaysian population is Muslim. The Department of Veterinary Services Malaysia is responsible for development and enforcement of laws relating to meat and meat products. They are also tasks with issuing import permits for livestock, meat and meat products. Please visit the following website on what you should know before exporting to Malaysia: agritrade.iift.ac.in (PDF)