Slide Frequently Asked Questions Though Malaysia is your definite go-to destination for filming location, there are some matters that you need to know in ensuring a smoother shooting process. Here’s a quick overview about the wonderful country and people.

Getting to know Malaysia

Where is Malaysia located?

Malaysia is located in South East Asia. The federal constitutional monarchy consists of 13 states and three federal territories, separated by the South China Sea into two regions, Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo’s East Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur is the national capital and largest city while Putrajaya is the centre of the federal government. With a population of over 30 million, Malaysia is the world’s 44th most populous country and home to a wondrous mix of Malay, Chinese, Indian, Kadazan, Iban and many more ethnicities.

In the tropics, Malaysia is one of 17 megadiverse countries, home to a number of endemic species.

It is famed for its beaches, rainforests and an array of wonderful breathtaking nature. Rugged mountains reach dramatically for the sky while their rainforest-clad slopes sweep down to floodplains teeming with forest life. Cool highland hideaways roll down to warm, sandy beaches and rich, humid mangroves.

When is the rainy (monsoon) season?

Malaysia, being an equatorial country, experiences afternoon rain showers throughout the year, which cools the day. However, during the North-East monsoon between the months of December through February, there will be an increase in showers’ frequencies.

What is the national language?

Bahasa Melayu is the national and official language. English is widely used especially in commerce and industry. Several Chinese and Indian dialects are also spoken nationwide.

What is the time difference?

The standard Malaysia time is 8 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), 7 hours ahead of summer and 8 hours ahead of winter.

What is the currency value in Malaysia today?

1 USD = RM4.14761 (as of September 2020). For the most current exchange rate, visit:

What is the mode of transportation available in Malaysia?

In Malaysia, the public transport networks are very efficient, with reasonably priced fares and are generally comfortable. Many Malaysians have mostly foregone the use of taxis in favour of ride-hailing apps such as Grab, as rates are easier to track and it allows online card payment through the app. Most popular locations even have designated pick-up spots for users of these apps.

There are various types of transportation services available:

  • LRT, MRT, Monorail and KTM train services.
  • Public bus, with some free services.
  • E-hailing services such as GRAB, and car rental service such as SOCAR.
  • Connected highways from the East to West region of Malaysia.
  • 7 major international airports.
Why shoot in Malaysia?

Malaysia is a great destination for filmmakers. The availability of its diverse locations, budget-friendly production costs, and a mature domestic film industry that provides a legion of experienced crew members have made Malaysia an attractive location for many local and foreign productions.

Among the key traits that keep luring global brands to produce and shoot in Malaysia include stunning locations, abundance of talents and cost-effective production.

Legalities for Filming and The Crew Union

Do I need filming permits and a visa for filming in Malaysia?

Unless you are taking photographs and videos for purely personal “home” use, you will most likely need a filming permit and a work visa. Even if you are an independent filmmaker and your project is non-commercial, as long as it will be shown in public or might be considered to be submitted to a festival, you are required to apply for filming permits and visa.

How to apply for filming permit filming in Malaysia?
  • The foreign production company will need to hire a local sponsor (Production Service Company) which holds a production license under FINAS and is registered with Central Agencies Committee for Applications for Filming and Performances by Foreign Artistes (PUSPAL).
  • The local sponsors will represent the production company during the application process and production period in Malaysia.
  • Every foreign production who wish to film in Malaysia is required to apply work permit for each of their crew members and cast. This permit is a necessity in applying for the work visa in order to conduct any production in Malaysia.
  • Click here for the application guideline:
Can I apply for filming permits and crew visa by myself through the Malaysian embassy?

Unfortunately, you can’t. By law you are required to appoint a local sponsor to act on your behalf. Your local sponsor (or a fixer) is also required by law to join and advise you during the whole shooting period. This is the government’s way to ensure that you follow the official guidelines and local customs.

Do we need a different permit to film in Borneo (Sabah / Sarawak)?

The Malaysian States of Sabah and Sarawak (or Borneo) each have their own rules and requirements when it comes to filming permits and crew visa.

If you plan to film your project in the East of Malaysia, you are required to apply for an additional film permit from the state government on top of the PUSPAL permit. Your PUSPAL application need to be approved first in order to apply for the state filming permit.

How long does it take to get the film permit approved?

Here’s a quick overview on the minimum processing period for filming permits and crew visa:

Peninsular Malaysia: 3 – 4 weeks

Sabah: 8-10 weeks

Sarawak: 6-8 weeks

Based on our own experience, these are the minimum processing times (once all documents are ready to be submitted) but there’s no absolute guarantee that your permit and visa will be ready within the mentioned period. On some occasions you might get lucky and get the approved permits earlier. However, there can be further delays due to the scope of the shoot, the nationality of the crew, public holidays and many other reasons.

Where and how fast can I get work visa for foreign crew and cast to film in Malaysian?

The visa application process for film crew is connected to the filming permit application and usually will be taken care of by your local sponsor. Do take note that different nationalities of crew require different procedures. Some will be able to collect their visa upon arrival in the country, others will need to collect it at the Malaysian Embassy overseas before traveling into country. We will advise you accordingly.

How to get the location permit?

Malaysia doesn’t have a city-by-city government film commission, and location shooting permits are usually obtained by building owners, business owners, or the city council. In the East Malaysia, most parks, including terrestrial and marine parks are managed under the state park. In East Malaysia, most parks including terrestrial and marine parks are managed under the state park. There are also additional provincial and local permits to apply for, especially if you plan to shoot in protected areas or areas under jurisdiction of the Forestry or Wildlife Departments.

What is the requirement for production crew to be involved?

At least 30% of the production crew must be either Malaysian citizens or persons having Malaysian permanent residency status (who are members of the local film association and will be involved with the production for the transference of expertise). It is a requirement by PUSPAL to undertake any project in Malaysia.

Are the local production crew as experience as the international crews?

Malaysia has a great pool of talents. Malaysian crews are diligently hardworking with skills and vast experience in servicing international productions. Most of them speak fluent English. It is compulsory for all crew to register with union film bodies such as PROFIMA, FDAM, and KARYAWAN to approve on their skillset and for the recognition of their experience. If additional crew needs to be brought in this can be easily be sourced from the nearby countries such as Thailand and Singapore.

What are the maximum hours allowed for shooting?

Working Hours: 12 hours max per day

Can we bring in our own camera equipment into Malaysia?

Malaysia is an Carnet ATA consignee country. Malaysian Customs Department is thoroughly strict when it comes to importing professional camera gear, hence make sure you get your ATA Carnet in your country before departure.

Are there any camera rental houses in Malaysia?

We provide a host of professional equipment, technical knowledge and a team of dedicated crew. Most of our equipment, both old and new, has been used to create award-winning commercials, documentaries, short films and movies. In addition, our experienced technical crew are always ready to offer insights in helping to create stunning pictures. Should there be a required piece of equipment that we do not have, we will reach out to our network within the region to obtain it.

Tax Incentive

What is the minimum QMPE required to be eligible for the tax incentive?


  • The minimum expenditure for each genre varies. QMPE of at least Ringgit Malaysia Five Million (RM5,000,000.00) in aggregate for production work only or for both production and post-production work.
  • Additionally, for a television series, the eligible applicant producer must spend an average of at least Ringgit Malaysia Three Hundred Eighty Five Thousand (RM 385,000.00) of QMPE per hour (actual length).
  • Ringgit Malaysia One Million Five Hundred Thousand (RM1,500,000.00) for post-production activity only (for production inside Malaysia)


  • A minimum Qualifying Malaysian Production Expenditure (QMPE) of Ringgit Malaysia Five Million (RM5,000,000.00)(inclusive of Post Production); or
  • 10% of total QMPE, or Ringgit Malaysia One Million (RM1,000,000.00) spent (whichever is higher), on facilities and services of Iskandar Malaysia Studios (IMS)
How are these incentives advantageous to filmmakers?

The FIMI and FIMI+ provides a 30% cash rebate on all QMPE for eligible format. However the tax relief for Reality Programme is capped at a 20% cash rebate for FIMI+

What are the eligible formats qualified for the incentive?


  • feature films
  • a single episode programme;
  • a single episode documentary;
  • commercials;
  • a series or season;
  • short form animation;
  • game shows and reality shows; and
  • television series


  • Feature Films
  • Documentary
  • Television Series
  • Single episode programme
  • Reality Programme

Filming Authorities

Use of police uniform, vehicle, logo or any relations with the Royal Police of Malaysia (PDRM)

The production unit MUST consult with PDRM in advance of any filming. The law states that:

Any person who with intent to deceive impersonates a member of a police force, or makes any statement or does any act calculated falsely to suggest that he is a constable, shall be guilty of an offence.

Use of police vehicle and graphic display relating to police

The production unit MUST consult with the police department in advance of any filming. We would advise that when vehicles are being driven on public roads to and from the filming, the following steps are taken to ensure that they are not mistaken for genuine police vehicles:

  • Any external ‘POLICE’ graphic is thoroughly taped over with black masking tape.
  • If the light bar is surrounded by blue plastic, ensure that it is covered from view.

Police presence is required to form a rolling road and blue lights may only be used when authorised by the officers supervising and is safe to do so to ensure that other vehicles will not be affected. Police exemptions to road traffic regulations may not be used. Sirens may not be used.

Filming scenes of crime or violence

The production unit MUST consult with PDRM in advance of any filming. The concern when filming scenes of crime or violence is that members of the public do not realise that filming is taking place and think that the event is real. They might either call the police or intervene themselves. Scenes of violence can be from mild implied or actual force or scenes of severe disorder.

Please ensure that:

  • The film crew wear high visual clothing so that it is obvious to members of the public that filming is taking place.
  • Suitable signages are used so that the public are aware of the nature of the filming.
  • Local residents are informed in advance so that they are forewarned of the filming.
  • Adequate stewards are present for public re-assurance and to preserve the security and safety of the film set.

Special Requirements

Drone permit

When flying a drone for commercial use in Malaysia, you are required to obtain an activity authorisation from the Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM). You  need to submit an application to For category C drones (more than 20 kg), you will need to provide a certificate of airworthiness in your application.

Use of explosion

Explosions of their very nature are of serious concern. They can be both seen and heard and so often result in numerous emergency calls to the emergency services. Please ensure that:

  • Suitable signages are used so that the public are aware of the nature of the filming.
  • Local residents are informed in advance so that they are forewarned of the explosions.
  • Adequate stewards are present for public re-assurance and to preserve the security and safety of the film set.
  • Keep the police informed to prevent possible misunderstandings involving police armed response units and reduce the likelihood of public distress and possible breach of the peace.
Use of fire arms

If a replica or imitation or airsoft firearm is to be used in, heard or seen in or from a public place or where the public have right of passage, the production must make sure that the police have been informed and that a point of contact for them is nominated.

Filming with Stunt

It is required by the producer and team to facilitate the necessary precautions for any unforeseen damages and accidents that might occur. It is advisable to have the medic and fire brigade team to stand by on set.