Plantation worker critical after allegedly setting blaze that claimed colleague's life

KOTA KINABALU: An Indonesian labourer apparently started a fire which left him in critical condition and caused the death of his colleague at a plantation in Beluran, on Sabah's east coast.

The 34-year-old man, who is now a murder suspect, remains at the Beluran hospital with severe burns, while his 26-year-old colleague died hours after the incident, which took place at around noon on Sunday (April 18).

Police said the suspect's motive was not immediately clear.

Beluran district police chief Supt Kasim Muda, who did not disclose the identities of those involved, said on Monday (April 18) that the case was being investigated as murder.

He said initial investigations found that the suspect had poured petrol in the living room area of the workers' quarters at Ladang Ribu Bonus Estate before starting the fire, with his colleague still inside.

Supt Kasim said the victim's wife apparently witnessed the incident and fled from the house.

The fire spread quickly through the house, but nearby farm workers managed to put it out, he added.

He said both the victim and suspect were rushed to the hospital.

The victim died at about 11pm on Sunday while the suspect remains unconscious and in critical condition at the hospital, he added.

Police are still questioning witnesses and have not yet established if there was any bad blood between the suspect and victim.

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