Thursday, November 1, 2012


SEACOM is the code name for the South-East Asia Commonwealth Telephone Cable System. With its completion, another very significant contribution by the Commonwealth Nations to bring the countries of the world into closer contact with each other is accomplished.

Good telecommunications within a country are necessary for full inter-working of governmental, commercial, industrial and social operations. So, in a wider field good international telecommunications in the world are necessary to assist countries to develop together economically and socially.

The Commonwealth has a vast network of international telecommunication facilities consisting of high frequency radio, telegraph submarine cables wideband telephone submarine cables and communication satellites. The last two media of communication have been developed only recently, and they can provide large capacities and high quality communication links which H.F. radio and out of date telegraph cables cannot do.

The Commonwealth international telecommunication network is not only extensive but it is a unique set-up in the world of communications. It consists of a common-user system of interconnections between practically all Commonwealth countries as well  as connections between Commonwealth countries and non-Commonwealth countries.

SEACOM is a truly Commonwealth joint effort, built by Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Britain, each Partner sharing in the total cost and also contributing in one way or another to the technical design, materials, manufacture or installation.

SEACOM is doubly important to Malaysia, firstly, because it connects the State of Malaya with the State of Sabah and thus provides a first class communication link, which will no doubt contribute greatly to the development of Sabah, secondly, because it is the first telephone cable to be laid in South-East Asia. It will not only give Malaysia good communications to many countries in this region like the Philippines, Japan and Hong Kong but also to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Britain, the United States and Europe.

The SEACOM cable route is made up of five cable sections, Singapore to Jesselton, Jesselton to Hong Kong, Hong Kong to Guam, Guam to Madang and Madang to Cairns. Kuala Lumpur is connected to SEACOM by a microwave link from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore and also from Cairns to Sydney by another microwave link.

At Guam SEACOM is connected to the Trans-Pacific cable and telephone where telex and telegraph connections are made to Tokyo, San Francisco and Manila from Kuala Lumpur and other Commonwealth points in the cable.

At Sydney SEACOM is connected to the Commonwealth Pacific cable called COMPAC and thence via the Canadian overland microwave system to Montreal where connection is made to the Commonwealth Trans-Atlantic cable CANTAT. Thus via this route direct telephone, telex and telegraph connections have been provided from Kuala Lumpur to Sydney and London. At the switching centres at Sydney and London connections to New Zealand, Canada and countries in Europe can be dialed direct from Kuala Lumpur. Services over the cable will all be on a 24-hour continuous basis. Hence, with the completion of SEACOM, it is expected that there will be an outstanding improvement in the international telecommunication services from Malaysia.

SEACOM has a capacity of 80 telephone circuits between Kuala Lumpur and Guam and 160 circuits between Guam and Sydney. Telegraph, telex and data transmission can also be made via SEACOM and a single telephone circuit can provide up to 22 telegraph or telex channels.

The length of a telephone circuit from Kuala Lumpur to Sydney in the SEACOM system is 9800 miles and there are 356 submerged amplifiers or repeaters inserted in the cable. The submerged repeaters are designed and manufactured with meticulous attention to every detail, so that they can give an expected trouble-free life under the sea of at least 20 years without maintenance attention. Each repeater contains two amplifier systems working in parallel so that if one system fails, the other will maintain service with no effect upon the performance of the system.

All possible care is taken during laying and jointing of the cable to ensure that the system will function efficiently for many years. Every joint made on the coaxial cable is X-rayed to check for possible defects before it is accepted. The route of the cable has all been surveyed carefully and the cable laid precisely on the selected path along the ocean bed.

Some sections of SEACOM are laid in waters up to 24,000 feet deep where both the cable and repeaters will be subjected to tremendous pressures.

The total cost of the SEACOM system is in the region of $200 million, contributed jointly by Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Britain. The system is expected to give more than 20 years of good service in conjunction with other cable and space satellite systems.

The demand for international communications is increasing rapidly all over the world and financially SEACOM is expected to be a profitable project. But more important is the benefit it can provide by bringing the peoples of the world closer together with rapid and continuous contact. It is difficult to name a price for the increased undertaking that will ensue.

Technical Details
Special postage stamps of the 30 cents and 75 cents denominations will be issued on the 30th March, 1967 to commemorate the completion of the SEACOM Project.

Size: Rectangular with the following dimensions perforation to perforation in sheets of 50:
Horizontal - 72 mm
Vertical - 25.5  mm

Printing Process: Photogravure

Design: The design features two maps, one of Southeast Asia and Australia showing the route of the SEACOM cable and the other of the world showing the SEACOM cable connected to the international telecommunications network.

30 c - yellow, blue, green and red

75 c - yellow, blue, light blue and red

Paper: Unwatermarked paper

Printed by: Government Printing Bureau of Japan

Artist: Enche Ng Peng Nam

Period of Sale: Three months from the date of issue or until stocks are exhausted whichever is earlier

First Day Cover

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