Tax breaks / incentives
The cost of filming in Malaysia is competitive, with countries like Singapore often being more expensive. However, countries such as Thailand and the Philippines will, on the whole, be cheaper locations for filming.
Nevertheless, in order to encourage both local and international productions, the Malaysian government introduced legislation which offers filmmakers and television producers a tax rebate of 30%, known as FIMI (the Film in Malaysia Incentive).
In order to access this tax incentive, productions must achieve ‘Qualifying Malaysian Production Expenditure’ (QMPE) status. This requires that a number of conditions be met, including:
- Foreign companies undertaking feature film production must spend a minimum of USD $1.6m in order to qualify for the government rebate. Television series must spend a minimum of approximately USD $125,000 per broadcast hour.
- At least 30% of the production crew must be Malaysian and a minimum number of interns who will gain training and experience are required based on the production size (this can be anywhere from 3-7 interns, depending on the budget).
- An applicant producer must apply to the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (FINAS) for a provisional certificate before production commences.
Following the completion of the production and after QMPE receipts have been audited, the applicant producer applies to FINAS for final certification. FINAS will then assess the amount of QMPE incurred by the company.