In his speech at the UN General Assembly ....... Dr Mahathir had criticised the UN for "rather unusual practices", citing as an example, the choice of UN human rights commissioners.
Without naming anyone but obviously referring to (Datuk Param Cumuraswamy ), Dr Mahathir told the world body: "But the UN chose a person well known for his virulent attacks on the Malaysian judiciary to report on that institution".
"The UN then conferred on him total immunity against the laws of his country without reference to or consent of the country and the immunity apparently extends beyond his task of reporting his findings to the UN."
(UN RAPPORTEUR PARAM DENIES ATTACKING JUDICIARY.
1 October 1999,BERNAMA Malaysian National News Agency)
The cause of Mahathir's anger:
The High Court today held that United Nations Special Rapporteur Param Cumaraswamy of Malaysia is entitled to immunity from all legal processes with regards to words spoken or acts done during the course of his mission as a U.N. agent...With respect to costs, Nathan said the parties ought to bear their own costs as Param had not acted impartially regarding the statements made in International Commercial Litigation. Param's interview with the magazine entitled "Malaysian Justice on Trial" is the source of the defamation suits filed against him.
Param is facing another three defamation suits filed by MBF Capital and MBF Northern Securities, lawyer V. K. Lingam and business tycoon Vincent Tan's Berjaya Industrial and Berjaya Corp. (Cayman) based on the interview given.
It appears that Mahathir was taking all this personally for reasons perhaps best described by VK Lingam:
. But never-mind, I will do this, I will get Tengku Adnan to arrange for PM to call you and Tan Sri Vincent Tan for PM to call you. And you know why, actually, I am very grateful with Tan Sri Vincent Tan you know why, I brainwash you so much even I quarrel with him. One day I went to Vincent Tan house, I fire him at the night in his house. I said very hell if you don’t do this who will do it?
All these people Tun Eusoff Chin, Datuk Ahmad Fairuz, Tan Sri Zainon all fought for that. Then he called Tengku Adnan. Tengku Adnan he said, saya bukan Perdana Menteri Malaysia lah, you know. If the old man doesn’t want to listen to me, go to hell.
He quarreled with me. I said nevermind, nevermind, you talk to PM again tomorrow morning to put Datuk Ahmad Fairuz to CJM. So next day morning he went and he called me back 9.30 that he said PM has already agreed. So I said nevermind, we hope for the best. So I said no harm trying, the worst that it can happen is that you lose. Being the old man, he is 76 years old, he gets whispers everywhere, and then you don’t whisper, he get taken away by the other side. But, now PM is very alert because every time he gets letters from Tan Sri Zaidin, he called Tengku Adnan, he said discuss with Vincent, come and discuss.
We want to make sure our friends are there for the sake of the PM and the sake of the country.