Mohd Azhar Mat Dali, political secretary to Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu, has ticked off the opposition for suggesting that Mohamad's deputy Liew Chin Tong was overshadowing him.
This was after Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajid Dusuki had questioned who was "the real defence minister" and claimed Liew appeared to stand out more when it came to discussing the country's defence policy.
"I only smile when I see the behaviour of opposition leaders who try to push the narrative and perception that Liew, a youth leader from DAP who is also the deputy defence minister, stands out more in carrying and discussing national defence policies compared to Mohamad, better known as Mat Sabu.
"Perhaps these quarters are out of ideas in trying to find fault with Mohamad. Perhaps they are too naive to understand Pakatan Harapan's reforms as they have become accustomed to and restricted by the methods of the previous Umno regime," Azhar said in a statement today.
Liew, in an interview published in the New Straits Times today, spoke at length about the Defence White Paper and Malaysia's challenges in dealing with the global world order.
Azhar said the Harapan government was one that was open towards young leaders and Mohamad had tasked Liew with overseeing the Defence White Paper which will chart the country's future defence policy.
"Since the first day Liew took on the role of deputy defence minister, he and Mohamad have been a close team.
"Mohamad, as an experienced leader in politics and in the struggle (for reform), is wise in evaluating and choosing his teammates. He personally tasked Liew with assisting the ministry in completing the Defence White Paper," he said.
Azhar said he has known Liew since before the general election and was aware of his capabilities.
"I was delighted when Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohaamd chose Liew to assist Mohamad as I know of his capabilities," he said.