"It was a great start to the tournament, it's my lowest round on Tour which is always nice," said Dougherty, whose maiden European Tour victory was in Singapore in 2005.
"I played well, I drove the ball well, I putted really well. All in all it was a superb round of golf."
Low scores were the order of the day with 98 players shooting under par.
Dougherty said he expected a winning score of 18 under or better at the Kota Permai Golf Club and hopes to record his third Tour title.
"All in all it was a superb round of golf."
"Inevitably, I am not going to shoot three more 10 under pars but certainly I am in a good position," the Brit said.
Dyson, who enjoyed a memorable rookie season in 2000 by winning the Asian Tour's Order of Merit with three titles, scored 32 on the front nine and 32 coming in to stay on his good friend's heels.
"I saw what he was doing all the way round and knew I had to make some birdies to keep behind my pal," said Dyson, who has won five times in his career.
Chia, the first Malaysian to win on the Asian Tour, in 2002, showed signs of his old form by sinking seven birdies on his former home course to lie three strokes behind the leader.
New Zealand's Mark Brown, aiming for a third straight title after wins at the SAIL Open and Johnnie Walker Classic, opened with a round of six-under to lie tied eighth with the group on 66.
The Malaysian Open is the fifth leg of the Asian Tour and is co-sanctioned by the European Tour.