A Complete Guide to Employment Background Checks in Malaysia

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Increasing Demand for Jobs in Malaysia

In 2022, Malaysia experienced a 31% year-on-year increase in hiring. In 2023, reports stated that every company hired at least 1 employee. Now, in 2024, it’s expected that remote work and digitalisation will reshape the labour market. As the country sees a consistent need to hire more people, the necessity for thorough employment background checks in Malaysia has become more evident.  

Conducting thorough background checks in Malaysia is also more important now that the top 5 job categories where employees are hired include HR, Sales and Business Development, Accounting and Finance, Marketing, and IT. Roles under these categories often process critical information, handle company finances, and may even have a great impact on the organisation’s success. As such, employers should ensure that they are hiring someone who’s qualified and wouldn’t cause problems later. 

The most common types of background checks Malaysian employers conduct include:

  • Criminal Records Check
  • Employment Reference Check
  • Education Verification Check
  • Credit Report Check
  • Social Media Check

Why Background Checks Are Essential in Malaysia

Thorough employment background checks in Malaysia are crucial for a number of reasons:

  • The rise in remote hiring. 
  • A competitive job market. 
  • For safety and compliance
  • Organisational success. 

The rise in remote hiring

Remote hiring complicates the verification of credentials and qualifications, highlighting the need for a more streamlined background check process using technologies like an HR software.

A competitive job market

Having many applicants makes it challenging to distinguish the most qualified candidates. This can be addressed through comprehensive education verification and employment history check. 

Safety and compliance

The increase in hiring on roles handling sensitive information and finance underscores the strict need to prioritise safety and security through background screening. 

In general, background checks may be required for safety-critical positions, including those that concern health and public safety. 

Organisational success

Ensuring qualifications and credentials are verified is crucial for performance and company success.

Overall, background checks in Malaysia have become increasingly important to employers as they can  identify and highlight any red flags that could indicate an  applicant may not be able to carry out their duties to the levels expected - particularly from a safety and efficiency perspective.

Types of Background Checks in Malaysia

Background checks come in a variety of different forms, depending on the position and the hiring process. You may be wondering what the most commonly requested background checks are that Malaysian employers require. Here is a list of some of them:

Criminal Records Check

This will look at any criminal convictions and arrest records, as well as any pending charges and court cases. The reason for this is to make sure the person has not committed a crime in the past that would make them unfit to work in certain industries.

Process and Turnaround Time

A common way to conduct criminal record checks in Malaysia is through the Royal Malaysian Police (RMP). Their database, however, cannot be accessed by third-parties. Hence, it’s best to collaborate with a reputable background screening platform if you want to check your candidate’s criminal records. 

Here’s a more detailed guide on Criminal Records Check for Employment

Employment Reference Check 

This will ask for a reference from a candidate’s previous employer to see if they have been an employee for a reasonable period of time and if there have been any issues with your work performance. This is also a good way to inquire about the candidate's performance reviews.

Process and Turnaround Time

To conduct employment history checks in Malaysia, your HR personnel need to get in touch with the previous employer to confirm that the candidate has truly worked in the organisation. Additional things to verify include their role and responsibilities and perhaps, the reason for leaving. The turnaround time depends on the depth of questions, number of references, and their availability. 

Here’s a Guide on Conducting Employment Reference Checks as well as Questions to Ask for an Informed Hiring Decision.


Education Verification Check 

This is done to confirm that the educational credentials that the candidates have listed on their application are legitimate. Their school's principal, registrar or other staff members will be contacted to verify the information on your application.

Process and Turnaround Time

In most cases, education verification in Malaysia also involves manual checks where details are verified from the institution. This process may take weeks, but can be streamlined through a background check provider.

Common Pre-Employment Background Checks in Malaysia
Background Check Why It's Crucial Process Involved
Criminal Record Check Ensures a safe workplace, identifies potential risks. Obtained through Royal Malaysian Police (RMP) usually through a background screening platform.
Employment History Verification Ensures accuracy of job roles and responsibilities, assesses reliability and performance. Contacting previous employers to verify positions and employment dates.
Education Verification Confirms qualifications, ensures necessary knowledge and skills. Contacting educational institutions to verify degrees and attendance.
Credit History Check Assesses financial reliability and integrity for roles involving money handling. Obtaining a credit report from a credit bureau, such as Credit Bureau Malaysia.
Social Media Screening Evaluates professionalism, cultural fit, and potential red flags in personal conduct. Reviewing publicly available social media profiles for inappropriate content or behaviour.

Credit Report Check

This will examine the candidate's credit history, including how often they make payments on time and if there are any late payments or defaults in their history. This will look at information from major credit bureaus to provide a snapshot of candidates payment history.

Process and Turnaround Time

How an employer conducts credit checks in Malaysia varies depending on what details they want to know about the employee. 

For example, if you want to know a candidate’s credit score, banking information, trade reference information, and litigation information, you may ask them to provide you with their MySCore Report. They can apply for it online at Credit Bureau Malaysia.  

Learn more about Credit History Checks for Employment here

Social Media Check

This will look for any information about a candidate on social media sites such as Facebook, X or LinkedIn. This will pull any information you have posted on social media sites such as public posts and comments.

Process and Turnaround Time

As in other countries, social media checks in Malaysia are usually conducted manually. Depending on how far back you want to check and the number of social media platforms you prefer to review, the process may take a couple of hours to a couple of days. If you want to automate and streamline the process, it’s best to partner with a background check provider. 

The Process of Conducting Background Checks in Malaysia

The process of conducting background checks in Malaysia varies depending on whether you’re doing it in-house or outsourcing it to experts. 

Conducting background checks in Malaysia is typically faster and more efficient when you partner with a trusted screening platform. With a third-party like Veremark, the steps usually only involve:

  1. Ordering the checks you need and customising your requirements 
  2. Veremark verifies the information you requested 
  3. The report gets delivered 

Immediately, you can discuss the results through Background Check Adjudication

On the other hand, if you decide to conduct it in-house, the steps generally include the following:

  1. Define the scope of the background check based on the job description, focusing on areas like criminal history, education, employment history, and credit checks.
  2. Obtain written consent from the candidate to perform the background check, complying with Malaysian privacy laws and regulations.
  3. Verify the candidate’s identity using government-issued documents to ensure accuracy in the subsequent steps.
  4. Conduct the checks you need one by one. Make sure that you handle applicant information in accordance with the existing laws. 
  5. Compile the findings into a comprehensive report, assessing the candidate’s suitability for the job role.
  6. Discuss the results with relevant decision-makers and, if necessary, the candidate, to address any concerns or discrepancies found during the checks.

Legal Considerations and Best Practices

No law prohibits Malaysian employees from conducting background checks for employment. However, it’s very important for employers to get the candidate’s written consent first. They must also comply with the Personal Data Protection Act. 

Also, employers are required to issue a notice regarding personal data protection to applicants in both English and Malay, explaining the reasons for collecting personal data, the methods of processing this data, and the rights of the individuals whose data is being collected, among other details.

Choosing the Right Background Screening Partner in Malaysia

There are various third party companies that offer pre-employment background checks in Malaysia, but not all of them offer the services you need. With Veremark, you can:

  1. Expect fast turnaround time without sacrificing the quality of checks and accuracy of results
  2. Order only the checks you need - there’s no lock-in period or long-term contracts. 
  3. Improve compliance as we have a strong framework to conduct checks in compliance with the relevant laws and regulations
  4. Hire faster. Our process is 100% automated and can seamlessly integrate into your current workflow. 
  5. Have access to 24/7 customer support. 

Veremark is one of the top background screening companies in Malaysia which ensures safe hiring with employment checks that are fast, accurate, secure, and scalable. Learn more about our employment screening in Malaysia here.

Featured Case Study

How Veremark helped Teleperformace Malaysia to Improve their Candidate Screening Processes, Saving the company both Time and Money

Teleperformance Malaysia is a multilingual BPO hub that supports services in more than 18 languages and dialects in Asia. They were looking for an immediately available new background checks and candidate reference screening solution for the rapidly increasing hiring to meet client business process outsourcing SLA contract and target needs.

When Alison Loftin (Director – Talent Acquisition Penang Malaysia) arrived at Teleperformance Malaysia, the process for background checking took a long time. There were many manual processes, 4 different background checking systems were being used. 21 documents needed to be manually uploaded online, which contributed to lost time and errors in the checking processes. It was also very difficult to capture high-quality scans of the requested documents, for them to be accurately checked and verified.

Alison got in touch with Daniel Callaghan, CEO Veremark, through the IndoChina HR Director Networking Group. Daniel provided Alison with an immediate demonstration of the integrated and scalable software UI & UX, from both the Talent Manager and Candidate perspectives, as well as the way Veremark delivers the best and trusted service based on its team culture and values.

“After a few days the Veremark experience was a marked improvement for the Teleperformance candidate screening processes, saving us both time and money. The change to using the Veremark solution has been a great success. Teleperformance team members from Malaysia, India, Vietnam, Thailand, China, and Philippines, all hugely enthusiastic about its impact on the effectiveness and enjoyment of their day-to-day work. We will always be recommending Veremark to our colleagues across Teleperformance country businesses around the world."

- Alison Loftin (Director – Talent Acquisition Penang Malaysia)

Teleperformance could get each of its countries up and running rapidly and seamlessly. Each country's Talent Manager was impressed with how Veremark’s trusted software and service ensured that a diverse Teleperformance team had a first-class experience every time.

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How long does a typical employment background check take in Malaysia?

The process usually takes a couple of weeks, depending on the scope and depth of the investigation required.

Are employers in Malaysia allowed to check a candidate's credit history as part of the background check?

Yes, employers can check a candidate's credit history, particularly for positions that entail financial responsibilities, provided they have the candidate's consent.

What types of background checks are most commonly requested by employers in Malaysia?

Employers frequently request checks on criminal records, employment history, educational qualifications, and, for certain roles, credit history and social media screening.

How do background checks for expatriate employees differ from those for local hires in Malaysia?

Background checks for expatriates typically include additional verifications such as visa status and international criminal history, which may extend the process.

Can companies in Malaysia conduct background checks without the consent of the candidate?


What background check do I need?

This depends on the industry and type of role you are recruiting for. To determine whether you need reference checks, identity checks, bankruptcy checks, civil background checks, credit checks for employment or any of the other background checks we offer, chat to our team of dedicated account managers.

Why should employers check the background of potential employees?

Many industries have compliance-related employment check requirements. And even if your industry doesn’t, remember that your staff have access to assets and data that must be protected. When you employ a new staff member you need to be certain that they have the best interests of your business at heart. Carrying out comprehensive background checking helps mitigate risk and ensures a safer hiring decision.

How long do background checks take?

Again, this depends on the type of checks you need. Simple identity checks can be carried out in as little as a few hours but a worldwide criminal background check for instance might take several weeks. A simple pre-employment check package takes around a week. Our account managers are specialists and can provide detailed information into which checks you need and how long they will take.

Can you do a background check online?

All Veremark checks are carried out online and digitally. This eliminates the need to collect, store and manage paper documents and information making the process faster, more efficient and ensures complete safety of candidate data and documents.

What are the benefits of a background check?

In a competitive marketplace, making the right hiring decisions is key to the success of your company. Employment background checks enables you to understand more about your candidates before making crucial decisions which can have either beneficial or catastrophic effects on your business.

What does a background check show?

Background checks not only provide useful insights into a candidate’s work history, skills and education, but they can also offer richer detail into someone’s personality and character traits. This gives you a huge advantage when considering who to hire. Background checking also ensures that candidates are legally allowed to carry out certain roles, failed criminal and credit checks could prevent them from working with vulnerable people or in a financial function.

Transform your hiring process

Request a discovery session with one of our background screening experts today.

State of Hiring and Background Checks Discrepancies

Veremark’s 2022 Annual Report is based on the background check data collected from over 100,000 checks from companies and professionals across 6 countries and 5 key industries last year.

This report focuses on the state of hiring and background check discrepancies and is an essential guide to all recruiters and HR professionals conducting hires, background checks and onboarding in 2022.

In this report, we discuss:  

  • What areas and factors can Background Checks discover?  
  • Where did the findings come from by country and sector?
  • Discrepancies by top 5 sectors
    • Fintech and Financial Services      
    • HR, Staffing and Recruiting      
    • Technology and Software      
    • Professional Services      
    • Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)
  • Discrepancies by top 6 countries
    • Estonia      
    • Singapore      
    • United Kingdom      
    • Australia & New Zealand      
    • India      
    • Philippines
Get your own copy!