What’s in this article

If you were to Google “Singapore and Malaysia business”, you’d come across many articles that compare both – pitting the two big boys of Southeast Asia against each other. But why not shift the chatters and continue the conversation from a collaborative perspective? Furthermore, this can enhance our dialogue and foster a more inclusive exchange of ideas and insights about the SG-MY twinning strategy.

No more ‘Singapore vs Malaysia’, but rather ‘Singapore and Malaysia’ – a synergetic approach, instead of a silo approach. Often, businesses focus on choosing one market rather than looking at multiple markets. However, by considering an integrated, big-picture view, they can scale the business more effectively and enhance overall business effectiveness.

For most companies, Singapore is usually the headquarters for operations in Asia. The scarcity of land and resources causes spiralling upward costs. As we’re experiencing the squeeze of stagflation, businesses are finding ways to cut costs to ensure long-term sustainability.

Moreover, if the pandemic taught us something, it’s diversifying operations and never putting all your eggs into one basket – and that’s where Malaysia comes into the picture.

How the MRA Grant in Singapore can help


Introducing the MRA (Market Readiness Assistance) grant, your ticket to turbocharging your business’s international success! Designed exclusively for vibrant Singapore-based small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) like yours, the MRA grant is the ultimate boost you’ve been waiting for.

The MRA grant is available to apply now till 31 Mar 2025. Each application is limited to one activity per overseas market. A new market is defined as any country outside Singapore where the company has not generated S$100,000 in overseas sales in each of the last 3 preceding years.

3 Reasons why the SG-MY Twinning Strategy Works

1. Close proximity

Singapore to Kuala Lumpur only takes 1 hour by flight while Singapore to Johor only takes 1 hour by land. This means that you’re just a stone’s throw away from your operational team with easy access to them whenever.

As both countries are in the same geographical sphere, there is also no time difference making cross-country working easy.

2. Cost-effective talent & land

Unlike Singapore, Malaysia has acres of land. With the abundance of land, naturally, the cost of renting or purchasing land is much cheaper as compared to Singapore. Setting up a factory in Johor could be a reality for manufacturing companies due to land size and cost savings.

Alternatively, if the land is not a key priority, leveraging Malaysia as your resource and operational hub is a viable solution given its high-calibre workforce and large talent pool.

3. Pro-business environment

Similar to Singapore, Malaysia’s government are very pro-business and is constantly looking for foreign investments in the country. Its attractive tax policies such as tax rebates for new SMEs.

With one of the lowest corporate tax rates of 24%, ranking 12th for ease of doing business, growing economy, and upward GDP growth, it’s definitely a destination that businesses should really consider.

Graph Malaysia digital economy Twinning Strategy

Malaysia’s digital economy has also garnered lots of traction with the setup of the new tech business authority – Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC). Beyond the establishment of MDEC, high-tech manufacturing is also part of the country’s Industry 4.0 initiatives.

As expected, the retail and trading industries are still key drivers of the economy. This is primarily due to the large consumer market with purchasing power. Furthermore, these industries continue to thrive because of their adaptability and responsiveness to consumer needs.

Making the move to Malaysia

However, If you have an existing Singapore company with at least 30% of the local shareholding, you can tap on the Market Readiness Assistance (MRA) grant by Enterprise Singapore. What this means is that you get up to 70% of your expansion costs covered capped at S$100,000 across 3 pillars – marketing and promotion, overseas business development, and market entry.

What are the requirements to set up a company in Malaysia?

The requirements are straightforward:

  • RM1 paid-up capital
  • 1 shareholder, aged 18 years old and above
  • 1 director, aged 18 years old and above
  • Local registered address
  • Appointment of a local company secretary who is licensed by SSM or a member of any professional body

Guide for Twinning Strategy SG-MY
Here are some useful guides to understand more:


Reach out to us if you’re interested in leveraging on the MRA grant for your Singapore business and kickstart your SG-MY twinning strategy.

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