Former DAP national spokesman Tony Pua recently created a stir by calling Barisan Nasional (BN), Pakatan Harapan's (PH) long-time foe turned partner-in-government, a "corrupt coalition".
His remarks sparked an angry reaction from BN's lynchpin party Umno as well as a response from DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke, who said that anyone unhappy with PH's alliance with BN and Umno should stop speaking on behalf of DAP.
He also said that attacking a coalition partner was uncalled for, and that Pua no longer represented DAP.
But for some former party leaders, Pua's comments ahead of crucial elections in six states could be linked to DAP's "agenda".
Speaking to MalaysiaNow, they also described the remarks as a calculated move and a "political game".
"Pua spoke according to DAP's political agenda," former Wangsa Maju MP Wee Choo Keong said.
PH became mired in controversy after its decision to join hands with BN in the aftermath of the general election last year, the inconclusive results of which had led to a hung parliament.
Many questioned the move, especially given PH's long stand against corruption-tainted Umno and its leader, former prime minister Najib Razak.
Najib was ejected from power after the 2018 general election, which saw BN toppled from government for the first time since independence.
He was subsequently slapped with a string of criminal charges, and is currently serving time in prison for corruption linked to former 1MDB unit SRC International.
Earlier this year, Umno renewed efforts to win him a royal pardon, sparking further debate about PH's cooperation with BN given its long campaign against him.
Pua, in describing BN as a "corrupt coalition", had also warned that the current government under Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim was fragile and expressed hope that PH could form the government on its own.
While Loke said that Pua was no longer an office holder in DAP and had spoken in his personal capacity, Wee said the former Damansara MP was Loke's adviser and therefore held an important position in PH.
"Pua is not just an ordinary member," he said. "He is Loke's adviser. Isn't an adviser also an important position?"
Former Bentong MP Wong Tack meanwhile said that Pua's remarks were an attempt to portray the party as "clean", and to rally the support of those who rejected PH's alliance with BN.
"I am no longer a DAP member, but his comments were in line with the views of the general public," he said.
"As long as you're not involved in politics, you won't know how dirty it is.
"Everything has a reason. There is always intention behind what is said and done."