‘M for Malaysia’: What it took to document GE14, and the importance of commemorating history

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali pose for a group picture with the production team of ‘M for Malaysia’ during its premiere at GSC Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur September 10, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali pose for a group picture with the production team of ‘M for Malaysia’ during its premiere at GSC Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur September 10, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 10 ― Activist Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir today talked about the challenges she and her crew faced in documenting Pakatan Harapan’s journey during the 14th general election campaign trail, at the M for Malaysia documentary premiere here.

In her speech, the executive producer of the film commended her filmmaker daughter Ineza Roussille and Dian Lee, both of whom directed and produced the documentary, for their grit in shadowing Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who had contested the Langkawi parliamentary seat, and later triumphed.

In her opening speech, Marina said that it was important to capture the historic moments during the campaign trail, as the war between PH and Barisan Nasional (BN) was a battle between David and Goliath, and a crucial moment in Malaysia’s democratic history.

“Dian and I first decided to capture the GE14 campaign regardless whether Pakatan won or not, simply because we thought that it was a David versus Goliath chapter well worth documenting.

“One week after May 9, we decided that we had incredible footage, 90 hours worth, that should be shared with the world, and from there on, the whole thing began to form, what you will see today,” the eldest child of Dr Mahathir and Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali said, in the presence of her parents, at the GSC Cinema in Pavilion.

Marina said that her production team assembled a crew to shadow Dr Mahathir, alongside her daughter Ineza, to capture the human story behind the election euphoria.

‘M for Malaysia’ directors Ineza Roussille (left) and Dian Lee are pictured during the documentary’s premiere at GSC Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur September 10, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara
‘M for Malaysia’ directors Ineza Roussille (left) and Dian Lee are pictured during the documentary’s premiere at GSC Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur September 10, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara

“Tonight, I am proud to say, you will watch the first ever Malaysian made documentary to be shown in 37 cinemas nationwide

“I hope you enjoy it, and do tell all your friends and family to go out and see it, and let us all make Malaysian movie-making history together,” she said to thunderous applause, witnessed by her beaming parents.

The documentary recounts the unlikely partnership between two previously sworn enemies, Dr Mahathir and DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang, who together, toppled BN to takeover Putrajaya.

In the documentary, viewers are given exclusive insights of never before seen footage of events leading up to May 9, 2018.

The background score for the documentary is composed by Los Angeles-based Malaysian composer Rendra Zawawi, with the soundtrack titled Bermula Kita, sung by New York-based Malaysian singer Yunalis Zarai or popularly known as Yuna.

The original soundtrack for M for Malaysia is available for sale online, with all proceeds to be channeled to the Undi 18 movement, a non-partisan organisation under the Malaysian Students’ Global Alliance.