National news agency Bernama has admitted that it has published a "flawed" photograph depicting Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak in Pekan, Pahang last Saturday.

Late this evening, Bernama released an article quoting editor-in-chief Yong Soo Heong stating that initial investigations showed that the photograph could have been manipulated at its point of origin.

"Initial checks revealed that the flawed picture was discovered at the source from where it was sent," he said.

NONEYong said that further investigations will look at possible motives and whether there could be possible elements of sabotage.

"We are viewing this matter seriously and will not hesitate to take appropriate action against those responsible for the irregularities.

"Bernama always strives to maintain high standards of professionalism and takes a serious view of workplace integrity," he stressed.

The photograph was published by NST on Sunday, depicting Najib being mobbed by a crowd in his constituency of Pekan.

Soon after, netizens pointed out that the photograph had been manipulated to depict a larger crowd.

Initially, netizens assumed that the photograph belonged to NST. After briefly removing the photograph from its website, NST re-uploaded it with attribution to Bernama.

By then, the same photograph on Bernama's sample page was already removed.

This was the second incident in as many weeks where the integrity of Bernama's photograph had been questioned by netizens.

The first incident involved a similar crowd photograph taken at Najib's open house event over the Aidilfitri weekend. Bernama has denied any manipulation in the photograph.