A friend aware of my abiding interest in Malaysia texted me recently seeking urgent answers after having gone down a rabbit hole over the multibillion-dollar 1MDB financial scandal. She had read Billion Dollar Whale , the international bestseller by former Wall Street Journal journalists Bradley Hope and Tom Wright that details the high-level impunity that went on in the case. Unsatisfied, she also watched documentaries that added sound and colour to the tales of audacity among the key protagonists as they went about stealing from the Malaysian state fund between 2009 and 2015. How is it that in this day and age, my friend asked me at the end of her knowledge binge, that the alleged architect of the plot – fugitive businessman Jho Low – remained at large? Aren’t the transnational transgressions so severe that countries’ law enforcement agencies would put their differences aside and work together to locate him? She also wondered how and why Najib Razak , Malaysia’s prime minister from 2009 to 2018, remained free after being convicted and sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment in the first of a series of trials linking him to the case. On the cherubic fugitive Low, my response to my friend was that I was equally stumped. The hunt for Jho Low: is net closing on 1MDB’s billion-dollar whale? Multiple reports – and official sources – place him in China , though Beijing has repeatedly and angrily denied claims that it is granting him safe harbour. On Najib, who is out on bail pending an appeal and faces other criminal trials over the theft, I said everyone had a right to due process under the law. Hence, even if we viscerally feel that Najib should be behind bars now – instead of remaining a potent political force as he is currently – the 67-year-old is completely within his rights to exhaust ways to clear himself. This is also why I find myself on his side of the ring in his civil suit in the Southern District of New York to subpoena information that he believes will exonerate him. It is puzzling that US federal prosecutors – who are conducting their own probe into the scandal – intervened to block that effort, saying there is “sensitive information” contained in the evidence. The evidence, according to the Law360 website, covers “troves of information” handed over to prosecutors by Goldman Sachs – which last year reached settlements with both the Malaysian and the US governments over its role in the scandal. Malaysian media have reported that the evidence Najib is seeking could include names of people who had siphoned funds from 1MDB and names of their beneficiaries. I think it is entirely fair for Najib’s lawyers to say that the US action denies their client a fair trial in Malaysia . As the adage goes, whether it involves Najib, Low or anyone else accused of any sort of transgression, it is important not only that justice is done but that it is seen to be done.