PETALING JAYA - In light of recent reports of crimes of passion, experts have warned people to look out for specific behavioural indicators in their partners to avoid becoming victims.
"For men, it is usually those who have quick tempers and resort to physical abuse during arguments," said Universiti Sains Malaysia criminologist and psychologist Dr Geshina Ayu Mat Saat.
"Women tend to be more manipulative. They threaten to kill themselves, run away, or claim that they are pregnant to force their partners to stay with them," she said.
In most instances, she said, the attacker had the "if I can't have you, then no one else can" mentality.
"The perpetrator may attack his or her partner based on mere suspicion of infidelity without even having any proof," she said.
She added that attackers often used love as a tool to manipulate and assert dominance over their partners.
On Friday, a 22-year-old woman was torched at a flat she shared with her boyfriend in Cheras after what appeared to be a lovers' quarrel.
Last month, a woman was allegedly stabbed to death by her fiance who later attempted suicide by consuming poison.
Just a day earlier, a 60-year-old cook repeatedly stabbed his 23-year-old girlfriend when she wanted to end their six-year relationship.
Neuro-psychologist Dr Nivashinie Mohan cautioned that even people without a history of aggressive behaviour could turn violent due to intense feelings of jealousy or hate.
"In a moment of intense emotion, they may react in ways which they normally would not," said Dr Nivashinie, who had encountered victims who had their cars vandalised by their loved ones.
"Severe biting is another form of extreme behaviour which involves biting their partners until they bleed or scratch them badly," she said.
Acknowledging that crimes of passion were becoming common, MCA Public Services and Complaints Department head Datuk Seri Michael Chong said he had received many cases of men seeking to be reunited with their wives after physically harming them in fits of rage.
"There are men who are so blinded by rage that they stab their wives just because they suspect she is having an affair.
"They later find out they are wrong and seek forgiveness," he said.
However, Chong believed that many people used the term "crime of passion" as a mere excuse.
"In crimes of passion, the perpetrator grabs a knife or any object that is close to him at that moment to attack the victim," he said.
"If he leaves the house, buys kerosene and returns to set the woman on fire, I don't believe it can be considered a crime of passion," he said.