Controversial UMNO women chief to be Najib's special adviser

PUTRAJAYA, Kuala Lumpur - In a major boost to her political career, Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil is expected to be appointed special adviser to the Prime Minister on women's affairs.

The special adviser position carries with it ministerial status.

Shahrizat will be defending her Wanita chief post in the upcoming Umno polls. So far only Datuk Sri Azalina Othman Said has indicated that she will challenge Shahrizat.

Shahrizat was also appointed as a special adviser to the Prime Minister for Women and Social Development Affairs in 2008, despite losing her Lambah Pantai seat in the general elections that year.

She was then appointed Women, Family and Community Development Minister in 2009 after winning the Wanita chief post in a bitter fight against long-time incumbent Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz.

She was sworn in as a Senator in 2009 but stepped down from her post in April 2012, when family members became mired in the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) controversy.

Shahrizat did not contest in the 2013 general election.

It is not clear yet when the Prime Minister will make the announcement.