Something cynical why Tun M’s 1978 photo now used to fuel more debates on PMX converting a Hindu man

NETIZENS are still debating over Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s post showing him leading a Hindu man with the recitation of the syahadah prayer.

While his naysayers and Opposition have upped the ante, the real record holder is – in fact – Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad when the latter was deputy PM (DPM).

Originally reported by an online portal, the article which carries a photograph taken from the 98-year-old twice former PM’s Facebook (FB) claimed that Dr Mahathir guided the conversion of 52 individuals at his residence on July 20, 1978. He was then the deputy to PM Tun Hussein Onn.

What is interesting is that the post was allegedly dated on Aug 25, 2017.

The one million ringgit question is why this post back in 2017 never attracted any eyeballs, especially from the media people who were monitoring Chedet’s blog and FB on a regular basis. Why is it only becoming a hot topic now?

Posting the Scoop article on her FB, one account holder Malini Valyetham rightly said:

“If the above is true, I can only conclude that those who are making a ‘song n dance’ about PMX’s involvement in a recent conversion exercise were not born yet in 1978.”

Most people may not know but after testing it out today, it is possible for Dr Mahathir or his assistant managing his FB account to edit an earlier post to replace an older picture and text with a new one.

In what was an original FB post dated Sept 1, 2022, this writer was able to replace the original photograph with one obtained from the media around January this year. The text was also edited today (Aug 26) and it appears as if it was written in 2022:

“See, I can edit what I posted earlier on Sept 1, 2022 with this photograph obtained from the press around January 2023. It’s possible. So be aware, folks. Don’t be deceived by what you see on Facebook. It can be manipulated to make it appear as if a picture had been posted earlier.”

But for netizens, anything is possible these days, and it is necessary to think critically and not believe everything that we are told.

Given that this writer has counter-checked with a Muslim friend, it is possible that this photograph allegedly posted on Dr Mahathir’s FB page shows that he was “leading 52 individuals through the recitation of the shahadah, the Islamic declaration of faith”.

It is interesting to see how a historical photograph has suddenly resurfaced and claimed to have been posted in 2017 when Dr Mahathir was then still campaigning under the Pakatan Harapan (PH) banner.

If the objective is to fuel another “lively debate across various social media platforms”, this writer would rather accept the various explanations claiming that PMX was only obliging to a request.

In the first place, the Hindu was already about to marry a Muslim girl; therefore, the PMX was not using his personal influence as the PM to incentivise a Hindu to become a Muslim.

There is nothing more cynical than this. Religious sentiment is not something that should continue to be played up, especially when we are all aware that there is something amiss about even the Aug 25, 2017 post on Dr Mahathir’s FB account.

However, a word of advice from a netizen may be something the PMX would do well to heed, especially in the face of all the attacks on him and the Madani government.

“(About the conversion ceremony) On a private basis yes. No coverage by any media. But on public platform, no.

“He is doing on public platform as PMX. So it’s wrong to do because he must always be aware that when he is in the public eye, he wears the badge, ‘PM For all Malaysians’.

“Because we all supported him to become PM. If not, he won’t be PM. Yes, it is true that he is Malay Muslim first then PM but this applies when in private.

“Imagine DAP got Christian ministers and they go (post videos and photographs of them) converting (Hindus or Buddhists to become) new churchgoers to Christianity on Sunday in church. How would you feel? What would you say?” – Aug 26, 2023

Subscribe and get top news delivered to your Inbox everyday for FREE