Local Government Minister Adam Shareef Umar has found himself at the centre of controversy following remarks suggesting he would “break the jaws” of Members of Parliament, a statement he later clarified as metaphorical and not intended to incite violence. 

The comment, made during a tour with President Dr Mohamed Muizzu in Dhiggaru, Meemu Atoll, was promptly flagged for review by Parliament Speaker Mohamed Aslam, who announced plans to refer the issue to the committee on parliamentary privileges and ethics.

Umar’s remarks were met with immediate backlash from opposition parties, including the Democrats and the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), alongside concerns voiced by the public. 

In a bid to quell the mounting criticism, Umar took to social media platform X to retract his statement, suggesting it was intended as humour or a metaphor, attributing the misunderstanding to his association with the word “jaw” from past controversies.

The minister’s comments were criticised as irresponsible by Speaker Aslam, particularly given Umar’s history of similar statements and his current role in the government. Aslam highlighted the potential danger in making statements that could be perceived as encouraging violence while holding a significant state position.

This is not the first instance of Umar’s contentious use of language. Previously, as the Defence Minister in the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) government, he faced backlash for threatening physical violence against MPs—a remark that has since become synonymous with his political persona. 

His repeated recourse to such imagery, even during a 2022 PPM campaign event, underscores a recurring theme in Umar’s rhetoric, raising questions about the appropriateness of such language within political discourse and governance.