A smile was the only response from Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad when a Cabinet minister defended the Prime Minister's no-show at a dialogue session last Friday.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said he met Dr Mahathir while in Kota Kinabalu and explained about Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's absence from the event.
"I was in Kota Kinabalu as vice-president of the Islamic Welfare Association (Perkim) and met Dr Mahathir.
"I explained to him the reasons behind the cancellation of the event and he merely smiled," he told lawmakers in Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
The issue over Najib's absence at the event was raised by Datuk Mahfuz Omar (PAS-Pokok Sena) after Shahidan took a swipe at him over his defeat in the recent PAS polls.
Shahidan, who was answering a question on security in Sabah, told Mahfuz that Najib would have attended the event but it was called off on the orders of Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar due to safety reasons.
Datuk Seri Noh Omar (BN-Tanjung Karang) later said the cancellation was more to preserve the dignity of both the leaders.
He urged both Najib and Dr Mahathir to have a private meeting to talk things over.