Doing Business in Malaysia 2020 is first subnational Doing Business study in the country. The study measures three regulatory areas that impact the local business environment: dealing with construction permits and registering property in six cities—George Town (Penang), Johor Bahru (Johor), Kota Kinabalu (Sabah), Kuala Lumpur, Kuantan (Pahang) and Kuching (Sarawak)—and trading across borders in four seaports—Johor Port, Kuantan Port, Penang Port and Port Klang (Kuala Lumpur).
- Kuala Lumpur stands out as a top performer across all areas, mainly due to its advanced electronic platforms.
- Across all cities, the quality of the regulatory framework is higher than the efficiency of the process to obtain a construction permit and transfer property.
- Action areas addressing common themes across indicators — such as internal coordination among different agencies, improved electronic platforms and a consistent application of the laws and requirements — will help to improve the various processes assessed in the study.
- Reform efforts need to focus on cities beyond Kuala Lumpur. Malaysian cities can adopt good practices implemented in Kuala Lumpur as they seek to strengthen their business environments and remove obstacles to doing business at the local level.