A political analyst says Umno may have placed itself in a difficult position following the move by its Supreme Council to sack former youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin for allegedly violating party discipline while on the campaign trail for the 15th general election (GE15).
Anis Anwar Suhaimi said Umno would now face questions on whether it represents the Malays inclusively or if it belongs to "a certain group".
Speaking to MalaysiaNow, he said that public response would be reflected in the state elections due within the next few months.
"Marginalising some of this Malay segment in Umno would invite a wave of protest votes, as was seen in Padang Serai after the party's collaboration with Pakatan Harapan (PH)," Anis, the chief researcher at O2 Research Malaysia, said.
Khairy, the former Rembau MP, was often linked to the possibility of reforms within Umno, which suffered back-to-back defeats at the last two general elections.
He was transferred to Sungai Buloh from his constituency in Rembau to make way for Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan, and was left without a seat in the Dewan Rakyat after losing the contest to the candidate from PKR.
While on the GE15 campaign trail, he openly declared his intention to one day become the Umno president and prime minister.
He last stood against Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for the Umno presidency in 2018, emerging second in a three-way race which also involved party veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.
Oh Ei Sun of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs said it was difficult to predict the impact of the Supreme Council's decision on the Malay support for Umno.
"I am not sure that all or most of the young and urban voters are by nature reformist and progressive," he said, citing the electoral gains of Perikatan Nasional, led by Islamist party PAS.
"Even if Khairy stays in Umno, that would not necessarily attract more young and urban voters for the party.
"Those who vote for Umno in the future are likely to do so because Umno aligns itself with PH more than anything else."
For now, he said, Khairy had the option of joining another party or forming his own.
"But the leaders of other parties may fear being overshadowed by him as well," Oh added.
"He'll just have to lie low for a while until the next political opportunity presents itself."