Chiam Nguang Huat, the man who allegedly set his wife on fire which resulted in her death told a Malaysia High Court yesterday, April 7 that his wife had refused to give him money to settle a gambling debt. According to 'The Star', 42-year-old Chiam said he had made a telephone call to ask for RM10,000 from his wife, Lai Siew Fong, 36, for a gambling debt. “I asked for RM10,000 because I needed the money to pay a gambling debt. But my wife said ‘You fikir sendiri’ (You think on your own) and asked me to ‘go and die’ before hanging up on me. I called her again but the phone had been turned off, ” the man said when testifying in his defence before Judicial Commissioner Datuk Nordin Hassan.
Chiam is charged with murdering Lai at their home in Taman Bayu Mutiara, Bukit Mertajam, at around 4pm on June 24, 2013. He also said that upon reaching home, he saw his wife and daughter seated on the sofa. “I asked my wife, ‘Is it true you want to see me die? If it’s true, I will die in front of you right now. My wife tried to snatch a small mineral bottle containing petrol which I was holding and during the struggle, the petrol was splashed on my body and my wife’s and suddenly, fire struck,” he said during examination-in-chief by his counsel Y. Anbananthan.
The man said he had quarrelled with his wife several times during their marriage because she listened to her family and refused to give him money.
During cross-examination by DPP Amir Hamdzah Othman, Chiam said he was holding the bottle containing petrol with his right hand and a cigarette butt in his left hand. Amir Hamdzah also suggested to Chiam that if he had wanted to kill himself, there were many ways to do so. To this, Chiam replied that he was not thinking much at the time.
The judicial Commissioner told both parties to submit their written submissions on or before April 28. He also fixed May 3 for further submissions, if there is a need, and May 24 for decision.