Qualifications needed to be a company secretary in Malaysia

Being a company secretary in Malaysia is no easy task. In fact, the field is highly competitive. This is because a company secretary in Malaysia has more responsibility. To begin with, let us define what a secretary is. A company secretary is an individual employed by a company to manage all administrative tasks. In addition to this, they also are to organize meetings and maintain records.

However, in Malaysia, the role of a company secretary comes with additional responsibilities. This is because in Malaysia, company secretaries occupy a very senior position. Wherein, not only do they handle all administrative tasks, they also ensure the company keeps in line with legislature.

In fact, this role is so important that the Companies Act of Malaysia made it a requirement for all new companies to appoint at least one secretary. In addition to this, the company secretary must also have a license issued by the SSM. But how does one qualify for a license of approval by the SSM?

If you are looking to be a company secretary in Malaysia, you will need to follow the protocol set by the SSM.

Firstly, one would need to meet the educational qualifications. Where, a candidate must have one of the following qualifications listed below:

A MIA registered Chartered Accountant

The MIA or Malaysian Institute of Accountants is the body for all professional accountants in Malaysia. Established in 1967, you will need the following in order to be registered:

  • Pass one of the exams outlined in the first pert of First Schedule of the Accountants Act, 1967
  • Have a minimum of three years of experience as an accountant by an approved body or business or
  • Be a member of any body outlined in the second part of First Schedule of the Accountants Act, 1967 or
  • Pass the exam to qualify you for MIA and subsequently attain 3 years of work experience by an approved body or business

A MAICSA registered Chartered Secretary

The MAICSA or the Malaysian Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators is the Malaysian branch of ICSA. ICSA is the professional body for all Chartered secretaries across the world.

To qualify for a MAICSA registration, you will need to complete an ICSA approves degree in Malaysia. Then you will have to pass an examination set by MAICSA. You will also need a letter of referral.

A Lawyer who has passed the Malaysian Bar

The Malaysian Bar is a professional body for all lawyers in Malaysia. This body regulates and manages all lawyers registered under it. To qualify for the Malaysian Bar, you will need one the following:

  • A Bachelor of Laws from any of the following universities: The University of Malaya in Singapore, University of Malaya, the National University of Singapore, or the University of Singapore
  • You are currently a barrister-at-law of England
  • You have another relevant qualification that you may make a personal query to see if it is sufficient.

Then, you will need to prove you have relevant work experience. There is no strict guideline for this, but you will need at least five years of cumulative experience in relevant fields.

Next, you can submit your application to the SSM. In addition to having the academic qualifications and work experience, you will need a letter of referral as well. Moreover, you will need to submit your application with the basic supplementary documents. I.e. copy of identity card, passport photos, copies of previous academic transcripts.

You will also need to show proof of payment of RM 50 during this stage. If your application is successful in this stage, you will be asked to sit for an exam and an interview. The examination, which is a written test, will test your knowledge on the following:

Once you have sat the exam, you will be called in for an assessment interview. In this interview, you will be quizzed on the topics above. In addition, they will also be assessing your speaking skills.

Do note, you will also need to meet these basic requirements for approval:

  • You have to be a natural person and not representing an external entity
  • You have to be of legal age in Malaysia (i.e. 18 and above)
  • You must have your primary residency in Malaysia
  • You must have a clean or cleared criminal record
  • You must not be declared bankrupt (may provide bank statements as proof)

Once you are approved by the SSM, you will be asked to pay RM 150. This is the fee to issue your license as an SSM approved secretary. This license is valid for three years and can be renewed afterwards.

Related Article: What to do when hiring your company secretary in Malaysia?


Company Registration Expert Since 2012