Guide to Malaysian Government Servants Doing Business

Can Malaysian Government Servants Do Business?

In this short guide, we will address commonly asked question: can you own and operate a business if you are a Malaysian public servant?

question from reddit about whether or not a government official in Malaysia can be a company director
We got you, Mr John Thg!

Here’s how we’ll break it down:

There’s not really much to this, so let’s begin.

The Public Officers Regulations (Conduct and Discipline) 1993

It is a set of regulations for all public servants in Malaysia published by the Public Service Department of Malaysia (Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam), also known in Bahasa Melayu as Peraturan Pegawai Awam (Kelakuan dan Tatatertib) 1993.

cover shot of the Public Officers Conduct and Discipline 1993

Specifically, Regulation 5 addresses government workers and ‘outside work’.

General prohibition under Regulation 5

According to Regulation 5, unless required in the course of their duties or explicitly authorised by their department head, government employees are forbidden from:

  • directly or indirectly participate in any commercial, agricultural, or industrial enterprise
  • seek paid work from any private institution, company, firm, or individual.
  • provide paid or free expert reports or opinions
  • serve as a trustee, administrator, or receiver

In short, Malaysian government servants are generally prohibited from all forms of secondary income including running a business.

However, Regulation 5 does allow for exemptions.

Exemption from general prohibition

Government employees may apply in writing to their department head for permission to engage in business or secondary employment.

The department head can only grant permission if the proposed activity meets three conditions:

  • does not operate during office hours or when the employee is required for official duties
  • does not compromise the employee’s effectiveness as a public servant in any way, and.
  • does not conflict with the interests of their position or their role as a public servant

A short list of application forms

Here’s are some applications for permission to do outside work from several government departments.

Each form is slightly different, but the common theme is to collect details of your government position and proposed outside work.

If you are a government servant and wish to open an Enterprise or Sdn Bhd, you’ll first need to track down the right form, submit an application to your head, and receive approval before registering your business.

Although there are no guarantees, official statement over the years have indicated a gradual relaxation of this regulation in response to the rising cost of living.

screenshot of government statement allowing public servants to do their own business
Looks like ‘weekend’ is a good keyword!

Whichever branch of the Malaysian government you work for, we hope we’ve answered your question.

Can MISHU help me obtain permission?

We suspect some readers will be wondering this, and our answer is a big fat ‘NO!’ 😂

We are but a humble digital CoSec firm, and while we can help you incorporate a Sdn Bhd or register an Enterprise much faster than you could on your own, we’re afraid the only one who can obtain permission from your department head is you – so all the best!

Let MISHU help incorporate your company

Once you’ve obtained permission to start a business, MISHU’s team of licensed Company Secretaries and consultants are here to help you start, build, and grow your venture. Get in touch – we’re waiting!

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