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Malaysia: Expat Status and Social Security

While numerous expats opt to go to Malaysia, it is not always easy to find a job or get a permit. Once you’re there, plenty of other issues will require your attention. InterNations provides you with info on work permits, healthcare, social security, taxes, and business etiquette in Malaysia.
The seat of Malaysia's government is located in Putrajaya.

Becoming an Expat in Malaysia

Before the application can be processed, the company in question must obtain approval from the authorized agency responsible for the “core business” area of the company. The Immigration Department provides a list of all such agencies and their areas of responsibility in its online portal.

All approved applications are evaluated by the Expat Committee (EC) according to several criteria, including the company’s equity and activities, relevance of the post to the company’s activities, local human resources, monthly income, age, and work experience of the expat-to-be.

At this stage, you need to apply for a visa (with reference) if your nationality requires it. If the EC has given you expat status, you should also apply for your Employment Pass. Close family members may accompany an approved expat on a Dependant Pass (i.e. Long-Term Social Visit Pass). Domestic servants can be brought along without many formal obstacles.

Social Security: Taking Care of the Population

The Malaysian Social Security System rests on two pillars: the Employees Provident Fund and the Social Insurance System. The latter administers benefits under two schemes, the employment injury scheme and the invalidity pension scheme. The Provident Fund runs two mandatory individual accounts per person to pay for old-age, disability and survivor benefits.

Money in either account of the Provident Fund may be used for other, government-approved purposes such as investment in unit trusts (account no.1) or the purchase of property, to cover education costs or to pay for the treatment of designated critical illnesses (account no.2).

Once the employee has reached the age of 55, all funds can be withdrawn without specific approval. Expats or permanent residents leaving the country after a period of employment in Malaysia can withdraw all their funds. Fill in the relevant application forms provided on the web portal of the Employees Provident Fund.

Social Security for Everyone

Every private sector employee in Malaysia automatically becomes a member of the Employees Provident Fund. Self-employed persons, domestic workers, and foreigners can opt for voluntary coverage. Social Insurance is compulsory for all non-foreign employees up to the age of 55 earning more than 3,000 MYR per month.

Employee contributions to the Provident Fund amount to 11% of monthly earnings for members up to the age of 54, and 5.5% thereafter. 70% of contributions go into account no.1, 30% into account no.2. They are complemented by an employer contribution of 12% and 6% respectively.

Social Insurance contributions are calculated at 0.5% of the employee’s monthly wage class earnings (according to 24 wage classes) for the employee. The employer also has to contribute 0.5% of the monthly payroll.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Adam Malewski

"With all the great information on this site, getting settled in Kuala Lumpur was a piece of cake."

Yasmin Krüger-Darango

"A former business partner recommended InterNations to me when I moved abroad to Malaysia. We still use it to stay in touch."

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