The 28-year-old, who is seeded third in Malaysia, will play Adrian Mannarino in the second round after receiving a first round bye.
The world number 17, who was born in Murcia, has not won any titles this year, and last month lost 6-3, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 in the first round of the US Open to Dennis Istomin.
"I didn't play really well in the last few tournaments, but I'm feeling much better than a month ago," said Almagro.
"I'm playing here because I want to change my luck."
In 2011 Almagro reached the quarter-finals here.
"I honestly believe I have a great chance of winning this tournament," he said.
Almagro's compatriot and world No. 4 David Ferrer is the top seed while Swiss world number 10 Stanislas Wawrinka is seeded second.
"I'm improving and feeling much more comfortable," Almagro said.
Meanwhile Mannarino, who opened his campaign with a straight forward 6-3, 6-4 victory over Germany's Daniel Brands, said he wanted to enjoy his first win before thinking of his second round match.
"I played very well today, most of my shots were on target," said Mannarino, who hit seven aces and converted six break points. "My returns were also quite good and that proved decisive."
Asked about the match up against the third seed, Mannarino said: "Almagro is a very powerful player. I'm expecting a tough match against him.
"We only met once before and I lost. For me to beat him I would have to be at the top of my game."
The other first round match Monday is between Hyeon Chung of South Korea and Argentina's Federico Delbonis.
Results on the first day of the Malaysia Open on Monday:
Singles first round:
Adrian Mannarino (FRA) bt Daniel Brands (GER) 6-3, 6-4