Zulkiffli retired midway through his qualifying match against Japan's Kenta Nishimoto. After losing the first set 16-21, Zulkiffli found himself trailing 1-11 in the second and decided to call it quits.
"I was not injured," the former world junior champion told The Star. "I’m just not feeling well because I had fever whilst in Sarawak last week. I was coughing and I couldn’t breathe well."
The 21-year-old has confirmed that he will return back to Malaysia and added that he hopes to recover in time for next week's Indonesian Open.
"I will return home tomorrow and hopefully I can recover before next week’s Indonesian Open," he said.
Birthday boy Chong Wei Feng was the only Malaysian male shuttler to emerge unscathed from the qualifiers as Ai Wei Jian lost to India's RMV Gurusaidutt. Meanwhile, Mohammad Arif Abdul Latif managed to beat Sattawat Pongnairat in his first match before going down to Boonsak Ponsana.
Wei Feng beat Japan's Riichi Takeshita 21-19, 21-7 in his first game before going on to defeat local shuttler Michael Fariman 21-9, 21-11.