Zulfikar: I am not a fugitive

The SDP received the following message from TheOptical regarding the press release issued by Zulfikar Mohamad Shariff, the former head of Fateha.com who was under investigation by the police for articles that he posted on the Fateha website.

I refer to the (Today) article Fateha.com fugitive wants to return. (below)

While it is true that I would like to return home, I have not decided when it will happen.

I am currently the Marketing Strategist, Head of Sales and Marketing at the largest Australian Islamic Finance company. With Singapore moving into Islamic finance, I would like to find ways to contribute to the vision.

Being in a matured organization means that I am able to network better and am deeply involved in this fast growing sector. I hope to be able to translate that into a substantive outcome for Singapore.

I have not decided whether it is better for me to contribute by residing within Singapore as I may be able to play a more effective role by being in the market outside of home.

I miss Singapore and if it is clear that I can contribute more effectively in Singapore, then I would do so.

In terms of the language used to describe me, I totally reject the term fugitive as used in the article. It is mischievous and has no place in a media organization that strives to project a balance view of the items it reports.

Yours sincerely

Zulfikar Mohamad Shariff

Fateha.com fugitive wants to return
Jose Raymond
10 December 2004

TWO-and-a-half years ago, he fled Singapore when he was being investigated for possible criminal defamation.

Now Zulfikar Mohamad Shariff (picture), who used to run the defunct Muslim website fateha.com and who has been living in Melbourne since July 2002, wants to return to Singapore.

In the first half of 2002, Mr Zulfikar made the headlines with his opposition to the Singapore Government’s policies and his activities such as hosting visiting politicians from Malaysia’s Islamic fundamentalist party Parti Islam SeMalaysia.

He left as police were looking into his possible defamation of then Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew, Muslim Affairs Minister Yaacob Ibrahim and Temasek Holdings executive director Ho Ching through his postings on fateha.com.

But in the last couple of weeks, Mr Zulfikar, 33, has put out feelers to people in Singapore, including some in the government, about coming back.

Speaking to Today from Melbourne, where he works as a marketing strategist for an Australian Islamic finance company, he explained why he wants to return: “It is not a change of heart towards Singapore. Singapore has always been in my heart. And I believe that I took up the cases for Singapore’s interest.

“But what has changed is the manner that I discuss issues. It is tough to decide that the strategy you have employed and the sacrifices you have made did not work. But with experience, we grow wiser.” Mr Zulfikar, a father of five, has a valid Singapore passport and could return, but the police investigation is still unresolved.

He didn’t discuss that and instead said: “I have shut down the website. That phase of my life is over. I miss Singapore. If there is an opportunity for me to contribute, I will.”

Adding he may have pushed a little too hard on some of the issues he was fighting for, he said: “I spent the last two year s reviewing the episode, analysed the impact and decided that it did not work.”

His change of tone has surprised political observers. Former NMP Zulkifli Baharuddin said: “Some of the things which happened in 2002 may still be fresh in many minds.

“(Zulfikar) might have to take responsibility for some of the things which may have been said, which could have hurt the reputations of quite a few leaders here.”

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