Changes to National Land Code: Acquisition of Property by Foreigners in Malaysia


Amendments recently made to the National Land Code 1965 (“NLC”) have updated approval requirements that are applicable for acquisitions of property by foreigners.  The NLC is enforced in all states in Malaysia (with the exception of Sabah and Sarawak).

Before 1 January 2017, section 433B of the NLC provided for prior approval of the relevant State Authority for any acquisition of property (save for industrial lands) by a non-citizen or a foreign company.

Pursuant to the National Land Code (Amendment) Act 2016 which came into force on 1 January 2017, section 433B was amended to include the requirement to obtain the approval of the State Authority for any acquisition of industrial properties by a non-citizen or foreigner.

Note, however, that different States in Malaysia have different guidelines governing the manner in which Section 433B is implemented, for example, the types of property that may be acquired by foreigners, the application process and fees involved.

To date, we understand that only Johore has passed a circular on the acquisition of industrial properties by foreigners (Circular No. 01 Year 2017) that takes effect from 1 January 2017. For convenience, we append below a current update of the comparison between Johor, Melaka, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Penang with regard to the application for approval by the relevant State Authorities for various types of properties.

If you have any questions or require any additional information, you may contact Sunita S. Sothi, Karin Lim, Lena Leong or Ting Hun Yin.

This alert is for general information only and is not a substitute for legal advice.

Please click here to view the tables in PDF format.