guide to opening a gym or fitness centre in malaysia

The Ultimate Guide To Opening A Gym In Malaysia [2024]

Gyms in Malaysia fall under the purview of district-level Local Authorities with no federal body to standardise gyms across the country, which usually means information is harder to come by.

So if you’re trying to find out how to open a local gym or fitness centre, you’re in the right place!

weight plate to show readers this is a guide to opening a proper gym
And the right plate!

This guide provides a general overview of the requirements, processes, and timelines involved in opening a gym in Malaysia (and a pitch at the end to let MISHU handle it!).

Here’s how we’ll break it down:

  1. We’ll begin with the list of mandatory requirements
  2. We’ll cover a typical gym registration process (timelines included)
  3. We’ll provide fees when available so you can budget accordingly

NOTE: We cite the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) guide as a reference, and we’ll be linking as many other Local Authority guidelines as we can find at the end.

Let’s begin!

Mandatory requirements for a gym

You’ll need to register a business entity to operate your gym, either as a Sole Proprietorship or Sdn Bhd (more on that later).

As mentioned at the start, every gym in Malaysia is subject to the specific requirements of the Local Authority where it is set up.

However, requirements are generally uniform across councils and related to safety, hygiene, and compliance with Malaysian employment law. 

logos of various local authorities in malaysia that govern gym requirements
Fun fact: There are 155 local authorities in Malaysia!

For example, the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) has set these as requirements:

  1. The main entrance to the gym cannot be locked during operating hours.
  2. The door of the gym entrance should be made of clear glass over 1/4 of its surface.
  3. Workers below 18 years old or who are suspected of having infectious diseases cannot be hired.
  4. There must be bright light and sufficient ventilation.
  5. The gym premises must always be clean.

In short, keep a gym safe, clean, and staffed by competent people, and you will have satisfied the requirements of basically any Local Authority. Fail to meet these criteria and a gym can be shut down immediately.

Process & Timeline

MBPJ is among the Local Authorities that allow online applications to open gyms via their eLesen portal. This isn’t a feature available in all areas, so check if your Local Authority requires physical application submissions.

StepTime TakenNecessary Documents / Fees
Step 1: Company incorporation3 – 5 working daysRegister for account on SSM MyCoID and carry out name reservation + incorporation.

You will be asked to provide the following information:

1. The proposed company name
2. The status of a private or public company
3. The proposed type of business
4. The address of registered office
5. The business address
6. Complete details of directors(s) and promoter(s)
7. Declaration from directors(s) and promoter(s)
8. Declaration of compliance from individuals responsible for incorporation

Fee: RM1,010
Step 2: Apply for premise and signboard license15 – 30 working daysThese must be obtained from the Local Authority where your premise is located. You will be asked to provide the following information:

1. A copy of complete set of SSM documents
2. A copy of the Sale and Purchase Agreement OR Tenancy Agreement
3. A copy of the applicant’s identity card OR passport photo
4. A copy of your office layout plan
5. Photographs of the business premises
6. A copy of the Certificate of Completion and Compliance (CCC) OR Certificate of Fitness (CF)
7. Quit Rent (Cukai Tanah) and Assessment (Cukai Taksiran/ Pintu) receipts
8. A copy of the Fire Department’s support letter/ Bomba
9. Photographs of the outer part of your premises showing where the signboard will be displayed
10. A colour visual of the signboard indicating design, colours and physical measurement

You will also need to submit to a premise inspection by Local Authority officers, and be prepared to make changes if requested.

Fee: RM100 – 200 for MBPJ (differs by municipality)
Step 3: Apply for Gym License30 working daysRegister for an eLesen account and submit an application for a temporary permit along with the following support documents:

1. Copy of identity card / passport
2. Certificate of business registration/company from the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM)
3. Information of business owner/director
4. Copy of the the stamped tenancy agreement/ sale and purchase agreement
5. Floor plan sketch with dimensions. Colour photos showing activities inside premises
6. Colour photos showing exterior of premises and adjacent premises
7. Confirmation from Dewan Bahasa & Pustaka (DBP) for each advertisement illustration.

Fee: RM1000 for MBPJ (varies by municipality)
Step 4: Premise Inspection by Local Authorities10 – 21 working days based on application backlogOfficers from the Local Authority will inspect your premises, and if there are no issues you will be cleared for a license.

If there are any issues, you are given a fixed amount of time (around 14 days) to make amendments to the premises.

Officers conduct a second inspection and if no further issues you will be cleared for a license.
Step 4: Receive license to operate gym14 – 21 working daysThe license is valid for a period of 1 year and can be renewed subject to passing a premise inspection.

The license must be clearly displayed on the premises at all times.

In total, expect two to three months to begin operating a gym from the time you begin the process, pending the capacity of Local Authority officers to inspect your premises, and whether you passes the initial inspection (it’s normal to need a couple of tries).

We’ll add that you don’t have to setup a Sdn Bhd as your business entitiy to run a gym – you can instead register an SSM Enterprise for significantly cheaper and faster.

a small gym to show that a sole proprietorship or enterprise is a decent business entity for some gyms
Especially for small neighbourhood gyms with low overheads.

Gym guidelines of specific Local Authorities

This is clearly a non-exhautive list of Local Authorities, but we promise to add more as we assist business owners across Malaysia open their new gyms.

In fact, let us help you!

Let MISHU help open your new gym

Co sec Manager Fenny

MISHU’s team of business license experts can help liase with your Local Authority to pin down specific requirements and make setting up a gym effortless. Well, effortless for you – so get in touch!

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