Analysts have questioned the extent to which recent efforts by Umno number two Mohamad Hasan to quell dissent among some in his party will bear fruit, warning that further cracks in the coalition government may be hard to dodge.
Ahmad Atory Hussain, a veteran Malay political analyst, said Umno would find it increasingly difficult to get along with parties that hold to different principles, namely PKR and DAP.
"I think it is only a matter of time before Umno, through some of its MPs, withdraws its support for Pakatan Harapan (PH) and announces its allegiance to some other party," he said.
"Tok Mat's speech has no meaning that can boost the morale and image of Umno," Atory, a former lecturer at Universiti Sains Malaysia, added, referring to Mohamad by his popular nickname.
Mohamad had urged the party to come to its senses and realise that it was "at the mercy" of others in the coalition government, formed in the wake of the inconclusive results of the last general election.
The defence minister was responding to the calls by some for Umno to withdraw its support for the government if jailed former leader Najib Razak is not granted a royal pardon.
"Right now, we're at the mercy of others in the government," he said on April 19.
"If we exited tomorrow with all of our 30 seats, the government would not fall," he added, referring to the total number of seats won by Barisan Nasional at the November polls – its worst electoral performance ever.
"The government has 148 seats. It will not fall, so don't play around. No one is scared. So behave yourselves."
Najib, who was prime minister until Barisan Nasional's historic defeat at the 2018 general election, is currently serving a 12-year jail term for the misappropriation of tens of millions in SRC International funds.
Efforts to obtain a royal pardon for him were renewed after he lost his final bid for a review of his conviction and sentence last month.
The Pardons Board is expected to meet on Friday to determine his fate.
Najib remains a popular figure among the Umno grassroots despite his conviction and the string of other criminal charges against him.
Atory said Umno's situation today mirrored that of Bersatu in 2020, when the party withdrew from PH over differences in principle with DAP.
It went on to join Perikatan Nasional (PN), which currently forms the federal opposition.
Meanwhile, analyst Mujibu Abd Muis said Mohamad's remarks had been necessary to keep Umno anchored in the real world.
"Umno won't go anywhere with controversies, especially in a coalition government," he said.
"Umno has yet to learn its lesson from the sharp drop in its popularity which began in 2008."
Mujibu, of Universiti Teknologi Mara, said this attitude could be seen in Umno's demand for seats ahead of the elections to be held in six states this year.
In Penang, PH has said that it wants to maintain the status quo without giving seats won by the coalition to BN.
In Negeri Sembilan and Selangor, meanwhile, Umno has asked for additional seats, necessitating talks among the PH component parties.
Mujibu said Umno had shown the same attitude during the PN administration and that of former prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
Azmil Tayeb of Universiti Sains Malaysia meanwhile said PH would be seen as representing the interests of non-Malays only if Umno withdrew its support.
"This is because of the political polarisation based on race and religion which was very evident at the last election," he said.
PH, which comprises DAP, PKR and Amanah, is largely reliant on the non-Malay and urban vote.
The highest percentage of Malay votes at last year's general election went to PN.