Malaysia is a country with a wealth of opportunities. After the turn of the 21st century, the country has had had great strides in economic development. As such, this has led to many investors choosing to direct their capital to Malaysia. This in turn has made the government open its doors to foreign investment. As such, the country now sees much in the way of foreign company incorporation.
The rules and regulations for company formations remain largely the same for both local and foreign business owners. This extends to the company secretary policy as well. But what is the policy for company secretaries in Malaysia? In Malaysia, the most common legal structure for new businesses is the private limited company. As such, the SSM* has declared that all private limited companies in Malaysia are to appoint an official company secretary. Without an appointed secretary, the company will be left on hold for its certificate of incorporation.
The SSM, or the Companies Commission of Malaysia is the regulatory body that oversees all business formations in the country.
But why is the company secretary a key employee in Malaysia? This is because of the duties they hold according to Malaysian law. In most cases, a company secretary overseas the administrative tasks of a company. But, in Malaysia, the company secretary occupies a much more senior position. In Malaysia, they are regarded as an officer of the board. Meaning that they are given the task of advising the board on any decision they need to make with regards to the company. Moreover, they are also in charge of ensuring the company complies with the regulations listed out by the SSM.
Furthermore, they are also the medium in which the company and other parties communicate. This means that your company secretary holds a certain percentage of the company’s future in their hands.
As such, the position of the company secretary in Malaysia is coveted and requires an official license. This means that the criteria to attain a license by the SSM is quite strict. The qualifications needed are the following:
- They have to be above the age of 18.
- They need to be a natural person and not an entity
- The must hold residence in Malaysia
- They need to be a Chartered Accountant registered with the MIA or
- They need to be a Chartered Secretary registered with the MAICSA or
- They need to be a lawyer who is an official member of the Malaysian Bar
- They must have no criminal record
- They must have a statement from their bank declaring that they are not bankrupt
Once they have the qualifications, they will be able to acquire a license to be listed under the SSM website as a company secretary. As such, when you are looking for a company secretary, you may refer to the SSM listings.
Now that you know where to look for a secretary, you need to know what to look for in potential candidates. These don’t necessarily include work experience or other qualifications. But rather, some are softer skills that you need to look for in an interview.
Required skills for a company secretary
The company secretary is the first point of contact between the company and external parties. These external parties may sometimes include potential investors. Thus, your secretary should possess charisma and communicative skills in order to be able to attract new investors. Moreover, the company secretary also has to liaise with the SSM with regards to company matters. Thus, they will have to be able to present the company in the best possible light.
As an officer of the board they must show strong leadership skills. They need to be able to take initiative when needed and guide the employees. This is imperative as they will often have to delegate tasks to members of their team.
Time management, multitasking and event management
The company secretary role is multi-faceted. Thus, being able to multitask and relegate enough time to complete all the tasks is a must. Moreover, they will have to organize all meetings with the board. As such, experience with event management is useful.
On a more practical side of things, they will need to have a mastery of technological skills. This includes computers skills in programs such as excel and other necessary ones. In addition to these skills, they will also need a wide range of knowledge. Especially in areas such as business laws. They will also need to have an understanding of market trends and trends in the economy.
Fluency in English and Bahasa Malaysia
Fluency in English is necessary. This is because the secretary needs to communicate with international parties. But, fluency in Bahasa Malaysia is important as well. As BM is the country’s national language. Therefore, most interactions with the SSM may have a degree of BM knowledge needed. Moreover, it will help public relations if the company operates in Malaysia.