MALACCA - Treasure is believed to be buried in secret sites in Pulau Besar and St Paul's Hill besides the one in Pulau Nangka, claimed Historic Study and Patriotism Institute (Iskep) chairman Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Jamil Mukmin.
This treasure, he said, was part of the riches belonging to the then prosperous Malacca Sultanate.
Prof Dr Mohd Jamil, who is also Malacca Museum Corporation (Perzim) director, said that during its heyday, various vessels calling on the port would pay gifts including gold ingots, statues, coins and jewellery, as taxes to the Sultanate.
"The gifts could have been transferred to these sites. However, only a small number of porcelain dating back to the Malacca Sultanate have been found in Pulau Besar and St Paul's Hill," he said here yesterday.
More researchers and archaeologists, said Dr Mohd Jamil, should focus their attention on Pulau Nangka, where an excavation for treasure was now ongoing.
The treasure, he said, could have been rushed to the island when the Portuguese attacked Malacca in 1511.
"There is no doubt that the treasure must have been shifted to a secluded site," he said.
He said the Malacca Sultan was once the richest ruler in the Malay archipelago due to the thriving port.
"There was once a vault in which all the gifts were stored until this went missing following the attack by the Portuguese," he said, adding that the talk of treasure buried in a cave in Pulau Nangka, an island 17km from the coast, first surfaced in 1997.
The Star, on its front-page exclusive on the treasure island on April 14, reported that the state government had given permits to two local companies to carry out excavation work under strict conditions set by Perzim.
On May 1, workers of the salvaging company were said to have discovered two copper medallions, believed to be part of the billion ringgit wealth buried.
The discovery was made at 11pm the day before, just an hour before the contract awarded to Smart Partnership International (M) Sdn Bhd, the company commissioned since January to detect and salvage the treasure, expired.