KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 22 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim presided over a religious conversion ceremony last week on the request of a Muslim Welfare Organisation Malaysia (Perkim) leader.

Perkim’s Klang chapter chairman, Hushim Salleh, provided the clarification today after civil society groups such as the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) criticised Anwar over the matter.

According to Hashim, the matter was not pre-planned but done spontaneously when Anwar was at the Ar-Rahimiah Mosque for Friday prayers after he went to the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital in Klang to visit the families of the recent aircraft crash victims.

“On that day, the prime minister converted our new Muslim brother upon my request as chairman of the Perkim’s Klang chapter.

“In fact, the ceremony was to be held at Perkim’s office and not the mosque.

“The matter is spontaneous, but I was the one who asked Anwar to convert Muhammad Anuar,” he said in a video posted on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

Following the ceremony, KLSCAH said while Article 11 of the Federal Constitution guarantees the freedom of religion for the people, Anwar as prime minister should not openly preside over religious conversion ceremonies for individuals of other ethnicities.

Subsequently, Penang Mufti Datuk Seri Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor said the matter should not be sensationalised or used to cause disharmony among the country’s different communities.