Saturday 4 February 2012

The untold story of Zulkifli Abdul Khir

First of all, is he really dead?

News reports flashed all over the world said Malaysian terror suspect Zulkifli Abdul Khir @ Marwan is indeed dead after an air strike on Jolo Island, in southern Philippines on Thursday.

But then in the latest rounds of reports, the Philippines Armed Forces announced that they have yet to find any body at the scene of the US-aided strike despite earlier confirming Zulkifli's death along with several high ranking AlQaeda-linked individuals.

How come there was not a single body found while in the earlier reports it was said up to 15 terrorists were killed?

Could it be that the elusive terror suspect had given the long arms of CIA and other security agencies in the world another slip? He after all did just that over 10 years ago when police closed down on his Kumpulan Militan Malaysia.

Who is this guy, actually?

The truth is, little is known about Muar-born Zulkifli Abdul Khir despite him being among the top most wanted terrorist suspects in the world. He actually ranked just a few rungs lower than Osama bin Laden in the US' most wanted list for many years till now.

With USD5 million bounty on his head, what makes this low-profile chap so dangerous? My bet was that because he is a US-trained engineer and a top notch bomb making expert. He is also considered as being highly intelligent and brave.

I did some search on this Johorean fella and other than those you had probably read in the newspapers about him, I discovered some very interesting stuff.

Zulkifli was born into a big family in Kampung Jeram Masjid, Bakri, Muar in 1966.
His growing up years was typical of any kampung kid in any village in Johor.
He did well in his studies and was enrolled at the prestigious boarding school, Sekolah Datuk Abdul Razak, Seremban in 1979.

He was a normal teenager, who likes to watch kung fu movies and listened to rock music. He prefer Bruce Lee than Jackie Chan and his favorite rock band was Deep Purple. He was also said to be a very good snooker player. All these were said to have been due to the influence of his elder brothers.

Zulkifli did show some early traits of rebelliousness during his school years. Like the other more adventurous boys, he picked up some bad habits such as smoking and going on excursions of climbing over the school fence for a night out. But all that were just more for fun than anything else. It can't be said that he was the naughtiest boy in the school. His nickname among school friends was "Cheng", which was given by seniors due to his Chinese look.

Zulkifli prays five times a day but was not really involved in any of the school's Islamic association activities. He normally perform his prayers in his dormitory instead of going to the surau. In another words, he didn't grow up being an Islamic fundamentalist.

It was said that Zulkifli was a rather quiet but likable boy. Despite being a rather shy character, Zulkifli did talk about his liking of girls to his school friends . He preferred Chinese girls or those of the same features.

His first experience of holding a firearm was when he joined the Army cadet. It was the only uniformed extra-curricular activity he took part in school. He was the best marksman in his batch of cadets and was said to be extremely good in handling the SLR rifle, being able to disassemble and reassemble the British-made weapon in record time.

The first real indication that Zulkifli would one day be a jihadist was in 1982. Just like Osama bin Laden, it was the Sabra and Shatila massacre during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon that year, which first made him hate the US, Israel and their allies. He was said to be very affected by the incident and had kept pictures of the massacred Palestinian civilians which were cut out from the Times magazine.

He did, however, studied very hard in his final year at school and did very well in his SPM to win a scholarship to further his studies in the US.

While studying electrical engineering in the US,  Zulkifli continued with his interest in military training and spend most of his summer holidays at private camps where he got himself acquainted with more types of firearms.

His studies did not however proceeded smoothly, probably because it was believed that during that period he began to have contacts with radicals elements among fellow students from the Middle East.
Zulkifli nonetheless completed his studies to obtain a degree in electrical engineering.

This was in the late 1987 , where in another part of the world, it marked the tail end of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

Instead of coming home to a good job and comfortable life like most other Malaysian students, Zulkifli decided to join the fight in that war-ravaged country.

He traveled to Pakistan and using his contacts from the Middle East entered Afghanistan and joined a group of Arab fighters, whom later be infamously known as the Al-Qaeda. They were at that time close allies of the Afghan mujaheddin faction led by the hardliner Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. It was, however, not known whether Zulkifli had personally met Osama bin Laden when he was in Afghanistan.

Despite the mujaheddin at that time being on the verge of winning the war, life was still hard and dangerous for Zulkifli and his fellow fighters. They were still heavily outgunned by the Soviet troops.

Zulkifli was attached to a squad of mostly Arab fighters. He became their expert in defusing land mines and unexploded Soviet bombs which were later used against the enemies. He was also their designated cook. It was said that their meal mostly consisted of rice mixed with ghee and the occasional ladies fingers and potatoes. Only once in a while they get supplies of meat.

Zulkifli was also among the best snipers in the squad. His sniping exploits include crawling through land mines armed with an AK-47 to get close to a Soviet position before letting off a single shot at a prized target and enduring the ensuing barrage of mortar fires.

He, however survived the war unscatched despite the extreme danger.

Some times after the Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan in 1989, Zulkifli was advised by his "seniors" to return home after her received news of some family problems back in Malaysia.

When he came back, he was at first finding it difficult to secure a steady job and ended up doing odd jobs while staying at a rented house in Shah Alam with some friends, several whom were themselves Afghan veterans.

Surprisingly though, old friends who met him during this time said Zulkifli was still the same shy but likable guy they know many years earlier.

He prays five times a day but still listened to rock music and seems to be cheerful about his then much more mundane life. He hardly talked about Islamic fundamentalism.

There were not much indications about his militancy except for him sometimes telling his old war stories to close friends. Even when telling those stories, he did so in such a way that they sounds quite comical rather than them being a really dangerous experience.

It was around this time that he told friends that his family had arranged for him to get married with a very pretty girl from Kluang, Johor. He was said to be very much in love with the girl from the very first time he was introduced to her by family members.

He was very happy at the prospect of settling down and had vigorously looked for a better job to prepare for a family life. He finally landed a job with Telekom Malaysia sometimes before his wedding. This was in the mid 1990s.

Unknown to most of those close to him, even during this time, Zulkifli was still in contact with his former mujaheddin friends in Malaysia and Afghanistan. This was probably what led him down to the dark path in later years.

The rest of Zulkifli's story had been extensively covered by the newspapers and news agencies across the world.
Here is a bit of those from the Star yesterday -

PETALING JAYA: Zulkifli Abdul Hir, born in Muar in 1966, was a telecommunications engineer trained in the United States.
Zulkifli, whose aliases included Marwan and Musa, was believed to be the head of the Kumpulan Mujahidin Malaysia (KMM), accused of being a senior member of the regional terror network Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and blamed for multiple bomb attacks in the Philippines.
He was a protege of JI bomb expert Dr Azahari Hussin, a Malaysian killed by an Indonesian anti-terrorism unit on Nov 9, 2005.
He was wanted for his role in leading KMM in a Southern Bank robbery in Petaling Jaya in May 2001, and the murder of Lunas assemblyman Dr Joe Fernandez and the bombing of a Hindu temple in Pudu, both in 2000.
He fled to Indonesia where he was believed to be involved in the Bali bombing in 2002, which claimed more than 200 lives. It is thought that he then escaped to Jolo Island in Southern Philippines in 2003.
In the Philippines, he cooperated with Abu Sayyaf and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to attack and bomb several American interests and military bases there.
This led him to being placed in the top 10 list of the world's most wanted terrorists with a US$5mil (M15mil) bounty on his head.
He was also high on the Philippines police's wanted list after two of their personnel were killed in a clash when they attempted to approach his hideout near Manila in August 2006.
Marwan had also been accused of helping to secure funds and weapons for Abu Sayyaf from foreign donors.
In March 2010, the Philippines marines launched an assault against Marwan, killing at least seven al-Qaeda linked militants in a raid at Laminusa Island, off southern Sulu province.
However, he managed to escape.
In October last year, Marwan fled from a military assault by the Philippines, which killed three Abu Sayyaf commanders and two other militants near the Indanan town in southern Sulu province.
His brother-in-law, Taufik Abdul Halim, was caught when he tried to set off a bomb at Plaza Atrium in Jakarta in 2001.
However, he ended up losing part of his right leg when the bomb exploded prematurely.

This report by Star, some how missed the fact that Zulkifli's 48-year-old elder brother who had obtained US citizenship and was living there is currently detained in Guantanamo Bay after suspected of giving him financial assistance and other materials.


  1. jangan main-main sama orang muor

    orang muor jugak

    1. orang muor memang hebat....

  2. org muor tak suka main main tau, dia org suka main.
    org muor suka kandos tau!!

  3. Ada dua perkara pokok wajib dilakukan di dalam lingkungan individu dan masyarakat Islam iaitu Fardhu Ain dan Fardhu Kifayah. Kita harus anggap perjuangan saudara Zulkifli ini sebagai fardhu kifayah yang telah menyelamatkan kita daripada kemurkaan Allah kerana hanya melihat sahaja nasib saudara kita BangsaMoro di Filipina yang terus tertindas oleh rejim Manila. Kita tidak mampu melakukan apa-apa, namun beliau tampil membantu perjuangan mereka mengangkat senjata. Al Fatihah buat almarhum Zulkifli Abdul Khir @ Marwan @ Musa.

    Tiada satu bangsa pun dalam tamadun dunia yang paling getir dan dalam tempoh sejarah yang amat panjang mempertahankan daulah Islamiyah selain BangsaMoro - sejak 13 Februari 1565 oleh penjajahan Sepanyol. Sedangkan perjuangan Palestin hanya bermula pada 14 Februari 1948 akibat pembentukan negara haram Israel yang menjarah tanah mereka. Ironinya, individu dan negara Islam lain termasuk saya sendiri, hanya mampu melihat kedua-dua isu signifikan dunia Islam ini terus tidak terbela.

    Apapun, kita teruskan perjuangan mendirikan fardhu ain yang wajib atas diri kita sebagai individu Muslim dan terus doakan kemenangan mutlak berpihak kepada mereka.


    1. Dear FMZ,
      Please note that Zulkifli's death has not absolutely been confirmed.
      Thank you.

  4. Sdr,

    Betapa kerdilnya apabila melihat masih ada pejuang-pejuang Islam yang sering dijenamakan sebagai `terorist' dan 1001 macam jenama yang dipromosi dengan tujuan jahat memburukkan imej umat dan agama Islam.

    Terus terang saya katakan saya tidak kenal siapa itu Zulkifli Abd Khir. Tetapi saya penuh yakin di luar sana ada sekumpulan umat Islam yang sedang berjuang menggunakan tulang empat kerat kekuatan fizikal dan minda mereka menegakkan syiar Islam.

    Teringat saya di zaman kegemilangan Islam, apabila ketika itu lahir nama-nama besar termasuk di kalangan orang muda yang ada antara hanya berusia belasan tahun seperti Tariq Abdul Aziz, tetapi sudah berupaya menyebarluas dan memperkukuh kedudukan Islam di serata dunia.

    Bukan tujuan menyamakan tokoh Islam terdahulu dengan apa yang ada sekarang, tetapi dalam suasana umat Islam ditindas, dicerca, dicaci, diperbodoh dan diperhamba serta dilabel sebagai pengganas dan penjahat, maka kumpulan umat Islam yang berani menggunakan tulang empat keratnya memperjuang dan mempertahan kesucian agamanya, sebenarnya mereka adalah kalangan orang yang kuat jati diri dan pegangan nilai yang pastinya berasaskan SUNNAH RASULULLAH DAN KITA ALLAH, AL QURAN.

    Mungkin kita tidak mengenali siapakah sebenarnya individu dan kumpulan ini yang perjuangan hanya kerana ALLAH. Bukan mudah sebenarnya untuk berjuang dalam keadaan umat Islam begitu lemah, miskin dan melarat akibat suka berpecah belah, berperang dan bertelagah sesama sendiri mengikut nafsu serakah dan ideologi sempit menggunakan jenama-jenama, yang mana kita sendiri tahu siapakah pencetusnya.

    Hanya sekadar renungan bersempena sambutan Maulidur Rasul hari ini.

  5. who start the game ? ask yourself,

  6. here are the facts
    1. he is a muslim born in malaysia
    2. he went abroad to continue study hoping coming back can help fellow muslim, malays and malaysia first. - he FAILED
    3. he went to afghan & philpines trying to find martyr but coming back and worked with malaysia GLCs. whatever he is doing overthere - FAILED
    4. the wars at other parts of the world, circle of concern not circle of influence. the wars happened, and in afghan case, we are not 100% or even in phillipines that it is A CRIME AGAINST ISLAM.
    so a war over there and plights of poor people over here. should be concerned of our internal affairs before going there. he FAILED again.

    so, he is neither a fighter nor a martyr. but one thing for sure, all the money he used for by the government tax payer, has ended in bringing a misguided mentally disturbed citizen zul.

    go figure.

  7. Sdr

    Anonymous 04.07AM

    Saya menghormati pandangan anda. Terima kasih. Cuma kadang kala kita perlu melihat kepada sesuatu perkara dengan `mata hati'. Kita tidak akan dapat melihatnya dengan mata kasar dan dalam keadaan yang biasa. Kemampuan dan kebijaksanaan manusia itu begitu terhad saudara, ia tidak mampu menjangkau kemampuan pencipta alam ini.

    Sebab itu, sesuatu kejadian dan perwatakan manusia itu, jangan kita lihat kepada sifat buruk dan negatifnya saja, tanpa menyelami apakah yang tersirat di sebalik kejadian yang berlaku itu.

    Saya tidak mengenali asal dan latar belakang tuan, tetapi satu pesanan saya sebenarnya untuk diri saya sendiri, pandanglah sesuatu perkara itu daripada pelbagai sudut dengan skop yang lebih luas, tanpa kita terlalu fokus kepada buruknya saja, kerana dalam buruk itu, tanpa kita ketahui terpancar sinar dan cahaya gemilangnya.

    Saya penuh percaya, saya dan anda sendiri mungkin pernah mengalami banyak perkara yang kita sendiri tidak pernah menjangka, berlaku dalam kehidupan kita, sama ada ianya membawa kebaikan mahu pun keburukan.

    Ingatan saya kepada diri saya sendiri, janganlah apabila kita tidak suka kepada seseorang atau sesuatu perkara yang dilakukannya, kita terus membenci dan mengutuk dia, kerana tanpa kita sedari orang yang kita kutuk dan maki hamun itu, sama ada dia atau ahli keluarganya, atau saudara maranya atau rakan-rakan membantu dan menyelesaikan masalah kita apabila kita dalam kesusahan.

    Percayalah, kita akan sentiasa berdepan dengan keadaan yang tidak pernah dijangka dalam kehidupan kita ini. Terima kasih sekali lagi atas pandangan saudara.

  8. segala masalah dunia ,sama ada "hero terrorist" ataupun org yahudi(israel,US...)adalah punca EGO,musuh utama manusia bukan org lain,tapi musuh utama kita adalah ego DIRI SENDIRI,org yahudi memang ada,itu sebab dia org nak control dunia,"hero terrorist"/muslim fundamentalist(or whatever fundamentalist religion,eg:christian fundamentalist)lagi kuat ego,each of them said their religion is the greatest,killing other innocent women and children to boast kehebatan agama masing2,ini hebat ker atau hebat BODOH,hebat EGO?

  9. saya selaku saudara seislamnya menyetujui apa yang dia lakukan.kerana kita tidak mampu untuk melakukan fardhu kifayah ini. saya merasa keluarganya juga tidak keberatan kerana ini keputusan dia sendiri. macam mana kamu boleh mengatakan dia itu seorang teroris, padahal dia adalah saudara seislam kita yang sanggup menggalas fardhu kifayah yang tidak mampu kita lakukan. sanggupkah kamu menghina dia,sedangkan kamu tidaklah dapat membela agama kamu sendiri atau menegakkan kebenaran yang diselindung itu

  10. He was a fine boy and what BigCat described him is almost entirely like the Cheng that I knew. I remember him being very proud of the Kadet Tentera uniform despite him being small built. Didn't know he was good with assault rifle though. He was extremely shy.
    His inclination isn't very correct but somebody got to do the job, correct. He chose his path. Every human being does their own.

  11. Whoever this man is. Who are we to judge. I pray for everyone's mind to be enlighten. Stop blaming others. Stop being rude to others and to yourselves. Sometimes too much words make the situation worst. Let everyone do his purpose. At the end it is the Lord who will prevail.

  12. Semoga Allah menghimpunkan dia di kalangan syuhada'. Allahumma aamiin.

  13. Semoga cita2 arwah termakbul..dan ditempatkan di kalangan syuhada..Amin.

  14. Baguslah kalau dia mampos. Geng dia dr mindanao skarang nak cuba rampas sabah.