Single mum set ablaze by jilted lover battles for life

KUALA LUMPUR - A single mother of three is fighting for her life in Kuala Lumpur Hospital after being set ablaze by her ex-boyfriend following an argument at her home in Setapak Jaya early yesterday.

Saliza Saidin, 29, suffered 80 per cent burns on the face, chest and legs in the 1.30am incident which also saw the youngest of her children, aged just 16 months, and her 62-year-old mother badly burnt.

Saliza was warded at the HKL burns unit, where she remains on a life-support machine, in critical condition.

Her daughter, Nur Airis Khalisya Mohd Sharil, was warded at the hospital's paediatric unit with burns to the face while her mother, Som Dolah, was given outpatient treatment for injuries to the right hand.

It is understood that the 29-year-old jilted lover had poured petrol on Saliza while she was in her bedroom in the Desa Rejang people's public housing flats with Khalisya and a 3-month-old baby she was babysitting.

Som said she saw the man in the family's unit at 1.30am.

"I was sleeping with two of Saliza's children, aged 5 and 4, in the hall. Suddenly I saw flames coming out from my daughter's room. Then I saw the ex-boyfriend crawling out of the room and locking the door from the outside," she said at HKL yesterday.

"I rushed into the room and (Saliza) told me to save the baby and Khalisya just before the room was engulfed in flames."

Som said her daughter and the man had been in a relationship for nine months but his jealous streak and abuse forced Saliza to break off with him.

"She told me that (her ex-boyfriend) had hit her many times. He also strangled her and stabbed her in the abdomen once, which prompted her to break off the relationship."

Som said words could not express how she felt at the way her daughter had been treated by the suspect, who had always been warmly welcomed by the family.

Witness Roszi Hussin, 21, said he had heard a couple quarrelling at 1.15am after visiting a friend at a nearby unit.

"I saw smoke coming out from the unit and someone was waving and calling for help," he said, adding that he and a few neighbours could not enter the house as the grille door was locked.

After a few attempts at prising open the door, they managed to get Saliza and her three children, Som and the baby out of the house.

"When a neighbour asked her what happened, Saliza said that her boyfriend 'did it'," said Roszi.

Saliza's eldest daughter, Nur Airis Safiyah, 5, said the suspect, went to their house and threw "a ball of fire" at her mother.

"He was so angry when he came in. He ran off after that," she said.

City Criminal Investigation Department deputy chief Assistant Commissioner Khairi Ahrasa said police were investigating the incident from all angles.

"As of now, Saliza's ex-boyfriend is being investigated as the prime suspect in the case, with the motive of revenge."

The case has been classified as attempted murder.