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The Malaysian ringgit (MYR) is a fully convertible currency, and the central bank applies few restrictions to international money transfers to Malaysia. Transferring money out of Malaysia in MYR is very difficult due to the controls of the Malaysian Central Bank.
Individuals and corporations may send money to Malaysia freely and convert it MYR. Transfers related to foreign direct investment (FDI) or portfolio investment, known as capital account transactions, are also open.
The Malaysian central bank still controls the use of MYR for settlement outside of the country. For companies, moving money outside of the country has become much easier in recent years; the central bank removed limits on outbound investment, trade financing and inter-company loans (excluding banks) in June 2011. Banks are required to keep records of the amount and purpose of all outbound money transfers over RM 200,000. Sending money out of the country as an individual is much more challenging since the MYR is a restricted currency.
The vast majority of foreign exchange that takes place on Malaysian exchanges consists of conversions between MYR and USD followed, to a lesser extent, by the euro (EUR), Australian dollar (AUD), Japanese yen (JPY) and the British pound (GBP).
While Malaysia maintains some restrictions on investment, its has greatly liberalised its foreign exchange regulation in an effort to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) in key sectors and establish the country as a financial services hub.
Non-residents are free to invest in ringgit-denominated assets; these may be funded by converting foreign currency to ringgit through licensed onshore banks in Malaysia or their foreign offices, or by obtaining a loan in ringgit.
Non-residents are also permitted to both obtain financing from Malaysian banks and issue debt instruments in foreign currencies. Bank accounts with authorised onshore banks in Malaysia can also be held in either ringgit or foreign currencies. Finally, profits, capital gains, dividends, royalties and interest may be freely remitted outside of Malaysia, but they must be transferred in foreign currency.
The Central Bank of Malaysia (Bank Negara Malaysia), monitors the growth of the Malaysian economy and aims to preserve monetary stability and a healthy financial sector. The bank oversees the country’s foreign exchange administration rules, in an effort to promote trade and investment.
Malaysia also maintains an international financial centre on the island of the Labuan, which is directly managed by the Labuan Financial Services Authority (FSA). As a financial hub, individuals and companies in Labuan are subject to dedicated fiscal and regulatory regimes, and we recommend consulting the relevant guidelines issued by the Labuan FSA.
The central bank manages the ringgit on a floating exchange rate, referenced against several trade-weighted currencies.
Malaysia’s monetary unit, the ringgit (MYR), is equivalent to 100 sen (cents) and abbreviated RM for (Ringgit Malaysia). Banknotes are printed with values of RM1, RM5, RM10, RM20, RM50 and RM100. Coins are available in denominations of 5, 10, 20 and 50 sen, and RM1.
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