NHis full name is Mat Kilau bin Imam Rasu @ Tok Gajah. His mother is Mahda, daughter of Tok Kaut Burau. Mat Kilau was believed to have been born in the year 1865/1866 at Kampung Masjid, Pulau Tawar. He is fluent in the holy Qur’an recital, singing religious hymns such as ‘berzanji’ and ‘berdikir, as well as well versed in ‘dikir rebana’, also known as ‘Dikir Pahang.’ His hobbies included playing the gasing and ‘berlaga buah keras’, at which he particularly good at that he was always known as the village champion.
At the age of 20, Mat Kilau had married a village girl, Yang Chik binti Imam Daud from Kampung Kedondong. The marriage bore him 3 children. After marriage, Mat Kilau had studied the physical and meditative art of silat. He had delved into the arts with far more intensity than his fellow students had, being more well versed in using weapons such as the ‘keris’ and ‘parang’. His level of mastery in the art was such that he was said to be able to render himself invisible to the naked eye. It was said that he learned much of this from his own father, Tok Gajah, who is also considered a national hero. He also learned spiritual and religious aspects of the arts from Haji Osman, also known as Haji Muntuk before he moved to Pekan as Mufti Negeri Pahang.
Mat Kilau possessed the traits of a leader and a mature outlook far beyond his years that made him a respected person. In October 1888, while Tok Gajah was in Pekan, Hugh Clifford had come to Pulau Tawar to negotiate with Mat Kilau. This event showed that Clifford believed in Mat Kilau. Mat Kilau is a person of great honor and integrity; therefore he is much loved and revered by his followers. The numbers of his followers were too many to mention, but those that were known to have sworn their lives to him are Awang Nong,Teh Ibrahim, Mat Kelubi, Mat Ali(khatib), Awang(Imam) and Mat Tahir.
Rumours of his death were written in English papers published in Singapore. The Straits Times and The Free Press stated, “Traitors, Dato’ Bahaman had fallen to the hands of the Siamese rulers in October 1985” while the Free Press stated that “Mat Kilau, while resisting arrest, had sustained injuries in the face and head. His wounds were mortal and he had died on the way to Kota Bharu due to excessive bleeding.”
With news of his death circulating by newspaper The Free Press in 22nd October 1895, it was generally accepted by the public that he was no more. What truly became of him was not known except to few of his friends such as Mustafa bin Awang Mat (Jusoh Rimau), Pendekar Tok Demali, Raja Ibrahim (Pak Him), Mat Kelantan and few others. Due to the fact that he was branded as a traitor by the British, he was left with no choice but to isolate himself from others and move from one place to another to avoid capture. He finally settled down in Batu 5, Jalan Kuantan-Gambang. Since 1930 Mat Kilau had to change his name several times and finally used the name Mat Siam.
In December 1969, Mat Kilau had who then held the identification card K/P 2044778, under the name Mohammad bin Ibrahim decided to reveal his true self. To avoid himself from public scrutiny he has first agreed to announce his existence in his birthplace. With the efforts by Omar bin Mat Kilau, Mat Kilau had been brought to his hometown, Kampung Masjid, Pulau Tawar. On Friday, 26th December 1969, Mat Kilau had attended prayers at the mosque in Kampung Masjid. After a Qur’an recital, he then announced himself as Mat Kilau.
This proclamation had shocked the public to an extent that the government of Pahang formed a committee to investigate. This committee was formed on the 8th of January 1970. A few people were interviewed in order to prove that Mat Siam was indeed Mat Kilau. Once verified, at 10.30 am on Thursday, 6th August 1970, Mat Siam was officially announced as Mat Kilau by the Chief Minister of Pahang. Unfortunately four days after the official announcement, Mat Kilau passed away due to old age. His age was believed to be 122 years old. The tales of his struggle as a warrior against the British was lost to us forever.
Source: Perpustakaan Negara Malaysia (http://sejarahmalaysia.pnm.my)