[REVIEW] 'M For Malaysia': A Reminder Of What Malaysia Won On 9 May 2018

It was a win for the rakyat and democracy.

  • Thursday, 5 September 2019
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[REVIEW] 'M For Malaysia': A Reminder Of What Malaysia Won On 9 May 2018

A lot has changed since the historic day of 9 May 2018.

So much that it feels like it's been much longer than a year-and-a-half or so since the day Malaysians went out by the droves to vote, and an opposition coalition won the General Elections for the first time in 60 years. 

'M for Malaysia', a feature documentary on the 16 days before the 14th General Elections took place, reminded us of those exhilarating days. 

To be honest, when we were invited for a special pre-screening of the documentary, we were expecting a propaganda film or at least a biased one. 

After all, it is produced by Tun Dr Mahathir's daughter Marina Mahathir and one of the directors, Ineza Roussille, is his granddaughter. 

We were glad that it wasn't. Not really. 

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad
It was told in the point of view of someone who followed Tun M during the election period, so there's more Pakatan Harapan than other parties.

 Still, it was as unbiased as it could have been, given the angle of the story and the people involved.

In the documentary, Ineza even mentions something along the lines of admiring Tun M as a leader and loving him as a granddaughter, but still disagreeing with some of things that the prime minister had done during his first tenure. 

That, we believe, set the tone for the documentary: an unbiased, behind-the-scenes look at the day history was made.

However, if you're not a fan of politics, we need to warn you that the documentary would touch on the subject, and some of it could be pretty uncomfortable.

If you're one of those who only vaguely remember the feuds between Tun M and DAP leaders Lim Kit Siang and Lim Guan Eng, as well as the fallout Tun had with his then deputy Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, it'll be a not entirely pretty walk down memory lane.

Who would have thought this was possible?
Anyone who knows the history will know that Tun M is not exactly the hero in those stories. 

But does he think things that he did when he was in power previously were wrong?

You gotta watch the documentary for yourself to find out. 

That being said, watching the former opposition leaders talking about their decision to work with their political enemy was pretty interesting. 

We mean, how many of us actually believed that the 'reconcilation' was possible or even that such a partnership could change the course of the country's future? 

What were they thinking? And what were the compromises they had to make to form a party led by a 92-year-old?

The documentary was not all history and relationship between the different parties that formed Pakatan Harapan. 

It was about Tun M and his journey as well.

Watching someone who is much older than most of our grandparents hustling with the energy of someone much younger is quite an experience.

Also, we loved that the directors - Ineza and Dian Lee - included personal moments and interactions between Tun M and his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah in the film.

For many, they are #CoupleGoals and this documentary will further reinforce those sentiments.

Little touches such as meal times Tun M shared with others, him showing his tiredness but still marching on and more gives us tiny glimpses of Tun M as a normal human, not just a politician. 

The support for Tun M, the hope that he gave the people when he joined the opposition and contest in the elections were clearly portrayed in the documentary.

Tun M is still loved by many
This writer was a journalist with a local newspaper during the 13th General Elections and countless by-elections. 

None of them had the same feel as the 14th one, when enemies decided to work together to topple the previous government.

People were a lot more excited and hopeful. Marching by the thousands to hear what the politicians contesting in their areas had to say and shouting their support. 

This was clearly shown in the film, bringing back the 'semangat', if only for a brief time. 


Malay Mail
The portrayal of the final days leading towards elections - from Malaysians banding together to help those who didn't have the means to go back and vote, to the vote counting where many stayed awake till the next morning to know the results - were reminders  of how just last year, we were united and fought for the same cause. 

It isn't just a reminder to the public, however, but also to those elected about the promises they made and still have to fulfill. 

Whatever our sentiments are towards the government now, the documentary reminds us of the recent past and what the rakyat did to peacefully change a government.

Overall, 'M For Malaysia' is one documentary that you, as a Malaysian, should watch to remind yourself that on that one historic night, your fellow countrymen - no matter the skin colour, race or religion - came together to change the course of history.

If you too wish to have some massive throwback moments, you can catch 'M for Malaysia' in selected cinemas nationwide for four days only beginning 12 September.

Final rating:

(3.5 'Jalur Gemilang' out of 5)

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