Malacca island treasure hunt: We did not plant medallions, says firm

A company employee with the two copper coins unearthed at the site. -- PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
A company employee with the two copper coins unearthed at the site. -- PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

MALACCA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The company commissioned by the Malacca government to detect and salvage treasures believed to be inside a cave on Pulau Nangka has denied it planted two medallions to extend its contract.

Director of Smart Partnership International (M) Sdn Bhd Mohammad Fuad Khushairy Mohd Said said the two coin-size medallions were discovered by workers at the site.

"We did not fabricate the discovery. The artefacts were handed over to Malacca Museum Corporation the same night the finding was made for carbon dating," he said at Pulau Nangka.

Mohammad Fuad was responding to the statement of Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron that he doubted that the artefacts were from the cave and asked the relevant agencies to authenticate the discovery.

The two relics were found at 11pm on April 30 - an hour before the contract was to expire.

The workers have been drilling through the wall of the cave to search for the treasure said to be stored in 20 chambers.

Malacca Museum Corporation general manager Datuk Khamis Abas said the inscription on one relic was in Arabic or Jawi and the other in Sanskrit or probably Tamil Pallava, indicating it could date back to the Majapahit Empire (1293-1500).

Mohammad Fuad said his workers had so far extricated some 15 tonnes of boulders that could be blocking the main entrance to the chambers.

"On Sunday night, we removed a boulder measuring 2.5m in length and weighing two tonnes. The only obstacle now is a 3.5m boulder that we are confident of removing in two days," he added.

He believed that the door of the cave could be opened once the boulder had been removed.

Meanwhile, the Commandant of the Second Territory Marine Police, Assistant Commissioner Paul Khiu Khon Chiang, said his men had been ordered to keep watch of the developments on the island.

"We will be in constant touch with the company on the progress of work," he said.

"Entry to the island itself is prohibited and we hope nobody makes a boat ride without authorisation from the relevant enforcement agencies," said ACP Khiu.