Dr M’s grandchild says life wasn’t like Anwar’s kids but still ‘messy’

Justin Ong
Roussille is the daughter of Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir from her first marriage to Frenchman Didier Roussille. — Picture from M for Malaysia official website

KUALA LUMPUR, April 25 — Ineza Roussille, the granddaughter to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, said she also went through a tumultuous time after he sacked Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as his deputy in 1998.

Speaking to the South China Morning Post (SCMP) about a documentary she made on the historic 14th general election, she recalled seeing Anwar’s daughters crying at their school following his firing then. She was 11 at the time.

Roussille said that when she had gone to enquire, other classmates reacted disapprovingly towards her.

“I didn’t go through anything like what Anwar’s kids suffered, but when 1998 happened, it was a weirdly messy time.

“People at school would say horrible things to me every day,” Roussille, now 32, told the SCMP.

She asserted that the cool treatment extended to teachers she categorised as supportive of Anwar, whom she said ostracised her.

Roussille is the daughter of Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir from her first marriage to Frenchman Didier Roussille.

She moved to Australia to attend boarding school later and returned to Malaysia in 2010 where she pursued a career in documentary-making.

Roussille said she actively avoided working on political subjects and steered clear of her own family in her career, adding that she never discussed the subject with Dr Mahathir as she felt she was not “on the same page with him politically”.

Being the granddaughter of Malaysia’s most arguably most influential politician is difficult, she added, saying it was made harder due to her beliefs that were not always aligned to his views.

“Politics have become more personal. When people attack him, it sucks. If he says something I don’t agree with, it sucks as well, because this time I care.”

Even when her mother approached her about making the documentary, M for Malaysia, Roussille said she was initially reluctant.

“Partly because I didn’t want to be that close to the political machine and be seen to lose all objectivity. And also partly because I treasure my relative anonymity and I knew being by his side on the campaign, I would be a lot more exposed than I’m usually comfortable with,” she said in a statement excerpted in the SCMP article.

The documentary was primarily shot over 11 days prior to the 14th general election and was a joint effort between Roussille and co-director Dian Lee.

It will premiere at Caamfest, in the US on May 15.

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