Opposition politician shares Orlando shooting conspiracy theories on Facebook

Mr Syafarin Sarif, chairman of the People's Power Party (PPP), has shared numerous articles on his Facebook page which seem to imply that a shooting incident that occurred last week in Orlando, USA, was staged.

One of the articles he shared on Tuesday rubbishes the tragedy which took place on Sunday (June 12) in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, when gunman Omar Mateen opened fire and killed 49 people.

It claims the event was staged and that the victims interviewed by media were actors.

Mr Syafarin followed up by sharing numerous other videos and links that claim the Orlando shooting was not real.

He shared a photo posted by Facebook user Akemy Ben Mandy, captioned: "Orlando Hoax Shooting. Speaking of crisis actors, this guy's injuries sure healed pretty damn quick."

When sharing the post, Mr Syafarin wrote in Malay: "Those who want to lie, be a bit smarter about it."

Mr Syafarin was a candidate in the September 2015 General Election, and was part of a PPP team that contested in Chua Chu Kang GRC. The team picked up 23.09 per cent of the vote, losing to the People's Action Party team.

The Straits Times reported last year that Mr Syafarin, 39, was a consultant at a research and consulting firm.

He was elected chairman of the PPP in December 2015.

Others, including Dr Paul Craig Roberts, a former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, have also expressed scepticism over the authenticity of the Orlando shooting, citing the lack of bodies and amateur cellphone footage as evidence to back their claims. However, this is not the first conspiracy theory posited by Dr Roberts, who has also cast doubt on the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre, in which 20 elementary school children were killed by a gunman in Newtown, Connecticut.

xiuhuil@sph.com.sg

See also:

Obama to console grieving families in Orlando

Orlando death toll revised down to 49 plus shooter: Authorities

Gunman in Orlando club shooting was a regular: Report

Orlando shooter's wife tried to talk him out of attack