Foreign Exchange Rules of Malaysia

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Exchange controls apply to residents and nonresidents.
Exchange controls apply to residents and nonresidents. (Image: monnaie suisse image by rachid amrous-spleen from Fotolia.com)

Malaysia’s currency is the ringgit, abbreviated as MYR, controlled by Bank Negara Malaysia. Under the Exchange Control Act 1953, exchange controls exist for both residents and nonresidents to monitor capital flows both in and out of the country and to maintain financial and economic stability. All travelers, including children, must complete a traveler’s declaration form (TDF) on arrival. Contravention of the Exchange Control Act incurs a fine of 10,000 MYR, three years imprisonment or both.

Nonresident Travelers

All travelers arriving in Malaysia must complete a TDF, available on all Malaysia Airlines’ flights and at check-in counters. The form should be completed and handed to the immigration officer on arrival, declaring the exact amount of ringgit you are importing. The import and export of Malaysian ringgit is restricted to up to 1,000 MYR, but any amount of foreign currency notes including traveler’s checks may be imported; although, when leaving Malaysia, travelers may not export more than they imported.

Complete a traveler's declaration form prior to arrival.
Complete a traveler's declaration form prior to arrival. (Image: signing a contract image by William Berry from Fotolia.com)

Nonresident Investors

The Malaysian government is keen to encourage foreign investment in the country, and so it allows nonresidents to make payments in either foreign currency or ringgit and does not restrict the repatriation of capital or investment income. Nonresidents can also open accounts in foreign currency or ringgit and obtain credit facilities and loans to buy property.

Nonresident investors can make payments in any currency.
Nonresident investors can make payments in any currency. (Image: investment opportunities image by Lars Christensen from Fotolia.com)

Resident Travelers

Resident travelers are restricted in the same way as nonresident travelers and can only import or export up to 1,000 in Malaysian ringgit notes. They may also import any amount of foreign currency notes including traveler’s checks but can only export up to the equivalent of $10,000 (USD).

Resident Investors

Resident investors are unrestricted in terms of what they invest abroad unless they have outstanding loans in Malaysia. They are free to invest unrestricted amounts of their own foreign currency abroad, and this includes amounts exchanged from ringgit into foreign currency. However, investment in Malaysian ringgit is restricted to a total of 10 million MYR per calendar year for companies and 100,000 MYR for individuals who have outstanding loans in the country. There are also borrowing limits for both resident companies and individuals which are 50 million and 10 million MYR, respectively. Residents may keep foreign currency accounts in Malaysia or in other countries, although proceeds from exports must be kept in a licensed Malaysian bank.

Resident investors are subject to very few restrictions.
Resident investors are subject to very few restrictions. (Image: malaysia flag button image by Andrey Zyk from Fotolia.com)

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