This article is based on a case study of the developing process of devolution of powers in Sarawak as an aspect of the operation of cooperative federalism in Malaysia. The argument developed is that devolution can be seen and used in conjunction with and in reinforcement of federalism, rather than being simply an alternative method of decentralizing powers. The study finds that this approach may be more promising than a more confrontational approach based on arguments around the fulfilment of the original federal bargain, and is also potentially more open-ended and creative (a process rather than an event), embracing issues within the federal bargain but also issues that are not dealt with in that bargain. The study is based on a unique opportunity to canvass the views of Sarawak leaders at the iteration of the devolution process.
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