While Najib Razak may have led the country for nearly a decade before his ousting in 2018, analysts agree that any need for his influence and popularity may be a thing of the past for the Pakatan Harapan (PH)-Barisan Nasional (BN) administration led by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.
Analyst Mazlan Ali said the presence of Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was all Anwar needed to maintain the authority and stability of his coalition government.
"All Anwar needs is Zahid," Mazlan of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia told MalaysiaNow.
Najib was prime minister from 2009 to 2018, losing the top office after PH's historic victory at the 14th general election.
His election loss was followed by a series of criminal charges which, at the time, saw hundreds of supporters thronging the Kuala Lumpur court complex in a show of support for "Bossku" – the moniker he assumed after his ouster.
His supporters came from all over the country, including his then constituency of Pekan in Pahang, and his influence at the grassroots level was credited for BN's sweeping victories at several by-elections in 2018 and 2019.
In 2020, though, he was convicted of misappropriating tens of millions in SRC International funds and, in 2022, he was sent to prison to serve a 12-year jail term after losing his final appeal.
While he still goes to and fro from prison to court for his remaining charges, his popularity is largely seen as being on the wane.
Analyst Oh Ei Sun said that in politics, things could change in a blink of an eye depending on the demographic and socio-political situations.
Speaking to MalaysiaNow, he said Umno needed to be wise in harnessing its support in whatever form or shape.
"Umno has to branch out on any kind of support it gets," Oh, of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, added.
Najib was recently acquitted of tampering with the final 1MDB audit report, and has embarked on a final bid for a review of his SRC International case.
But Mazlan said that the situation was difficult to predict.
He said the current political environment could no longer be analysed in black and white terms, but required a more in-depth view.
He added that this was especially the case given the make-up of the coalition government in which long-time foes such as Umno and DAP had been forced to work together.
"If we want to analyse all this in terms of what, how and why, it's no longer possible," he said.
"We have to go further than that."