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Wednesday July 25, 2012 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Thursday May 30, 2013 MYT 4:57:00 AM
by r.s.n. murali
<b>Humble background:</b> Muhammad Khairul has come a long way since he was found abandoned in a garbage bin.
MALACCA: It was in the month of Ramadan in 1987 that he came into this world wrapped in a sarong and dumped in a garbage bin.
Growing up was hard and painful for Muhammad Khairul Hafiz Abdullah, and his life once revolved around dump sites and rubbish bins.
Today, he is a successful entrepreneur running his own recycling business.
Recalling his early years, Muhammad Khairul said he was told that someone picked him up from a mound of rubbish in a large bin in Mentakab and sent him to a welfare home in Kuantan.
He was raised at the home for four years until a childless couple adopted him. However, after his foster parents had their own baby boy, they turned against him.
Things got worse and 25 years on, Muhammad Khairul still remembers how he was scalded with hot water and hit with blunt objects.
“The trauma is still there and the injuries and scars remain,” said the once-abused child, who is now a social activist championing the rights of battered children.
The Malaysian Welfare and Social Organisation (Perbak), which he leads, recently made a shocking disclosure that senior officials of a welfare home were sodomising and sexually abusing some 150 boys under their care.
Muhammad Khairul said he fled from his foster parents when he was six and walked 10km to seek protection from the police in Shah Alam.
He was later referred to a welfare home in Cheras, where he stayed until he was 12.
Following his UPSR examination, he was sent to a boys' home in Durian Daun here.
At 18, Muhammad Khairul started looking for work and found a job that required him to look for recyclable items to sell to scrap dealers. Often, he had to sleep along the five-foot ways of Malacca city.
A year later, he headed for Putrajaya to look for greener pastures and again became involved in the recycling business. He learnt the ropes and within a few years started running his own business.
Along the way, Muhammad Khairul fell in love and married one of his employees in 2009. They now have two children.
“All the suffering and torment I endured during childhood have made me a much more mature man. My business friends tell me I am more like a 50-year-old than a youth in my ways,” he smiled.
To mark the 25th year since he was picked up from the garbage bin, Muhammad Khairul said he would traverse the country during the Ramadan month to have buka puasa sessions with orphans and share his bittersweet life story with them.
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