Isu Antiminyak Sawit dan Peranan Surat Khabar AS dalam Mencorakkan Hubungan Malaysia-Amerika Syarikat, 1986-1989 (Anti-Palm Oil Issue and The Role Of U.S. Newspapers In Shaping Malaysia-U.S. Relations, 1986-1989)

Aszlan Selamat, Shakila Yacob


This paper aims to analyse the role of newspaper reports by the New York Times and Washington Post on the anti-palm oil campaign on Malaysia-U.S trade relations concerning anti-palm oil campaign. The campaign was initiated by the American Soybean Association (ASA), the American Heart Association (AHA), the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and the National Heart Savers Association (NHSA), with the support of newspaper reports mainly from the New York Times and Washington Post. This paper posits that the campaign published by the newspapers affected the Malaysia-U.S trading relationship, in particular, in relation to palm oil imports and exports. The historical research method was employed for this study analyses both primary and secondary data. In addition, interviews were conducted to validate the findings. This study is crucial in filling the gap in the literature on the anti-palm oil campaign published in newspapers and its impact on Malaysia-U.S. relations. At present, the anti-palm oil campaign remains on the agenda of developed countries and other international green peace groups. The Malaysian government has remained as an active player in promoting the palm oil industry in the U.S. and European countries. This research demonstrates that newspaper reports influenced members of the U.S. Congress to propose a bill on the labeling of tropical oils. Palm oil is seen as a source of saturated fats, which poses a health risk. Newspaper reports were also used as evidence to garner support for the bill in Congress. This anti-oil palm campaign led to a decline in Malaysian palm oil exports to the U.S. These newspaper reports led to tensions in Malaysia, and the anti-palm oil campaign is perceived as an “act of war in a foreign country” .

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JEBAT : Malaysian Journal of History, Politics & Strategic Studies, 
Center for Research in History, Politics and International Affairs,
Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, 
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 43600 UKM, Bangi Selangor, Malaysia.

eISSN: 2180-02551

ISSN: 012-5644