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Controversial M'sian former minister elected as Najib's special adviser
Publication Date : 20-08-2013
Former Malaysian Women, Family and Community Development Minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil has been appointed a special adviser to Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to oversee the development of women entrepreneurs and professionals.
It is understood the appointment was effective from August 15.
Shahrizat who is also United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) Womens' Wing (Wanita UMNO) chief was tight-lipped when asked to confirm the appointment when met at the wing's Ramadan open house event at the Putra World Trade Centre, Kuala Lumpur, on Monday.
In Putrajaya, Najib said there would be no announcement on the matter yet.
“So, just leave it as it is,” he said after attending the finance ministry’s Ramadan open house event.
Sources, however, said Shahrizat had already started work in her new position.
It was not known when the announcement of her appointment would be made.
Shahrizat will be defending the Wanita chief post that she has held since 2009, against former UMNO Youth Womens' Wing (Puteri UMNO) chief and Pengerang member of Parliament Azalina Othman Said.
A source said Shahrizat, in her new position, would champion some of the main causes which she fought for during her tenure as minister. These include pushing the private sector to ensure that women make up at least 30 per cent of those in decision-making positions, and to further empower women economically.
This would be the second time that Shahrizat was appointed as special adviser to the prime minister.
Her first appointment in 2008 was made by former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi after she lost her Lembah Pantai parliamentary constituency seat in the general election that year.
Shahrizat was appointed a senator, followed by a Cabinet position the following year after she defeated Rafidah Aziz to become Wanita UMNO chief.
Shahrizat's credibility took a hit in 2011 when Malaysian opposition politician Rafizi Ramli unearthed questionable financial records related to a cattle company, the National Feedlot Corporation, which is run by her family.
In the "cows-for-condos" scandal, her family was accused of using government funds meant for a cattle-rearing project to invest in luxury apartments in Malaysia and Singapore.
Shahrizat's husband Mohamad Salleh Ismail, who had been charged for criminal breach of trust, was then the chairman of National Feedlot Corporation. Her three children also held directorships in the company.
She stepped down as minister last year after the controversy erupted and did not contest in the Malaysian 13th general election in May.