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Company owners in Malaysia are required to follow company name guidelines when selecting a name for their company to avoid using words or phrases that are restricted or being identical to other companies. We have put together an overview of selecting and changing a company name in Malaysia.
Let’s jump right in.
Malaysian company name guidelines
Requirements for a Malaysian company name
The general requirements for a company name in Malaysia are the following:
- A public company must end with Berhad or
- A private company must end with Serdirian Berhad or Bhd.
- An unlimited company must end with Serdirian or
- Must use the correct spelling and grammar
- Mixing England and Bahasa Malaysia is only allowed if it can describe the business type and uses proper grammar
- If the name is in another language other than English or Bahasa English, the meaning of the word must be given
- The meaning must be given if a word is created or coined
- The name is not offensive to the members of the public or blasphemous
- The name does not resemble elements of religion
- Must not use words that are too general, such as Technology Sdn. Bhd. or International Sdn. Bhd.
- Only the names of company directors who are listed on the registration application form can be used as company names
- The use of symbols in a company name is limited to five symbols, which are:
- & (including dan, and and N)
- . (dot symbol)
- – (hyphen symbol)
- () (bracket symbol)
- ‘ (apostrophe symbol)
Company name restrictions
There are certain names and words that are prohibited from being used in a company name. These names are:
- Names suggesting a connection with:
- The members of the Royal family or including words such as Royal, King, Queen, Prince, Princess, Crown, Regent or Imperial
- A State or Federal government department, statutory body, authority or government agency or a municipality or local authority, or including words such as Federal, State or National
- Any ASEAN, Commonwealth or foreign government, the United Nations or any international organisation, or including words such as ASEAN, UNESCO, NATO, EEC or OPEC
- Any political party, society, trade union, co-operative society or building society’
- Names including any of the following words:
Bank Banker Banking Bumiputra Bureau Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chamber of Manufacturers Chartered College Consumer Council Credit Exchange Executor Fair price Finance Foundation Fund Guarantee Institute Insurance Investment Leasing Made in Malaysia Prime Registry Treasury Trust Unit Trust University
- Names that are translations of a company or a foreign company registered under the Companies Act or the same or similar to other companies registered under the Act
- Acronyms that may be confused with existing names:
Institutions of higher education Federal agencies or state and government owned companies UiTM SSM UTM CCM UM JKR UKM JPM UUM BNM USM KPDNKK UIA SEDC UNIMAS PKEN UMS SIRIM UIAM TNB UPSI PNB UMP FELDA UMP FELCRA UTEM PETRONAS UNIMAP SKM UTHM MYCC MIDA KWSP LHDN PERKESO MARDI RISDA
Determining identical company names
According to the Companies Commission of Malaysia’s (SSM) Guidelines on Company Names, there are certain words that must be disregarded when determining whether a company name is identical to another company:
- The in the case that it is the first word of the name
- Sendirian, Sdn, Berhad and Bhd
- Company, and company, corporation, Incorporated, Holding, Group and Malaysia if they are at the end of the company name
- The plural version of the name
- The type and case of letters, spacing and punctuation marks
- The symbol & and and
Changing the name of a company
Reasons why companies may change their name
There may be situations where companies change their names, and common reasons why they may choose to do so are as follows:
- The company went through a change of management
- The company changed its shareholding
- The company changed its business activities or business direction
- The company is rebranding
Company name change process
The process of changing a company’s name can be done by lodging an application via the SSM online system with a fee of RM 50 by the company secretary.
If the proposed company name is approved, the name will be reserved for 30 days from the date of the approval notification.
Upon approval, a general meeting should be convened to confirm the company name approval. Form 11 must then be submitted to the SSM.
The SSM will then issue Form 13, which confirms that the company’s name has been changed.
The company name can be in both English and Bahasa Malaysian if the name uses proper grammar and can be used to describe the business. Once you have selected a company name that complies with the company name guidelines, you should have no trouble reserving and using that name. To reduce the hassle of setting up a company, you should consider engaging with Acclime’s services.
Acclime is Asia’s premier tech-enabled professional services firm. We provide formation, accounting, tax, HR and advisory services, focusing on delivering high-quality outsourcing and consulting services to our local and international clients in Malaysia and beyond.