Biggest lesson from ‘M for Malaysia’? How to accept criticism, says Dr M

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks to reporters at the premiere of ‘M for Malaysia’ at GSC Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur September 10, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks to reporters at the premiere of ‘M for Malaysia’ at GSC Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur September 10, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 10 ― Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today praised the M for Malaysia documentary, produced by his daughter and granddaughter on the workings of democracy in the country, as a balanced film which even managed to highlight some of the negative sentiments associated with him when he was the fourth prime minister.

The Langkawi MP labelled the film a factual one, and as a lesson for everyone, on the need to accept criticisms.

“I think it’s very factual, it is not one-sided. All those things about me which are bad were also told. All the things that happened during my time.

“I think it’s a lesson for everyone to see, that you have to put up with criticisms, as much as you like to be praised,” Dr Mahathir told reporters, after catching the premiere.

The film is directed and produced by his eldest granddaughter Ineza Roussille and real estate tycoon Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew’s daughter, Dian Lee. Ineza’s mother Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir is the executive producer.

The documentary recounts the unlikely partnership between two previously sworn enemies, Dr Mahathir and DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang, who together, toppled Barisan Nasional (BN) to take over Putrajaya.

In the documentary, viewers are also given exclusive insight of never before seen footages of events leading up to the historic May 9, 2018, when BN lost its six-decade long reign.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali attend the premiere of ‘M for Malaysia’ 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 attend the premiere of ‘M for Malaysia’ at GSC Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur September 10, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara
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.

M for Malaysia will be screened at 37 cinemas nationwide, and it has already been screened at the Centre for Asian American Media Fest (CAAMFest) in San Francisco and DocEdge in New Zealand.

It is scheduled for another screening at the renowned Busan International Film Festival in October, the largest film festival in Asia.

During a press conference, Dr Mahathir was also asked about PH’s chances in the 15th general election, as to whether he felt that the May 9 history last year could be repeated again in 2023.

In reply, the 93-year-old admitted that it would be an uphill task the next time round, as PH had previously focused on former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s alleged misdeeds in its 2018 campaign, while the 2023 election would see the public evaluating his coalition’s performance instead.

“You see in this election, the main issue was Najib. In GE15, it will not have that record, (which happened) during this period of time. So people will want to assess the performance of Pakatan Harapan, and it’s not going to be easy. The second time is never easy.

“It’s a beginning, but we have to perform. There are certain things that we may not be able to do immediately. All these will take time. Certainly trying to recover the financial losses may take many, many years,” Dr Mahathir added.