Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad conceded that he had in the past contributed to DAP's poor reputation among Malay voters.
He added that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak was also continuing with the demonisation of DAP.
"They are afraid to vote (for DAP because) if DAP wins, (they think) Lim Kit Siang will become prime minister.
"Therefore the Malays fear DAP. To some extent, I contributed to DAP's poor reputation," he said in a video uploaded on the Mukhriz Mahathir FC Facebook page.
The video was of a public discourse session between Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) and DAP held in Alor Setar last Saturday.
"I portrayed DAP as an evil party that wanted to control Malaysia and did not care about the fate of the Malays," said Mahathir, who is also Bersatu chairperson.
However, Mahathir indicated that he had done so as a political strategy.
"Of course, if you want to win... you have to demonise the opponent.
"They too demonised me... They called me mahafiraun (great pharaoh) and mahazalim (great despot), they accused me of all kinds of things," he said.
During the talk, Mahathir also spoke out against his former party Umno.
"A party that fought against Malayan Union and won - gaining independence for our nation and bringing prosperity - is today led by a robber," he said.
Mahathir, who accused Najib of corruption, has aligned with the opposition, including DAP, in a bid to oust him.
Najib, who received multi-billion ringgit deposits in his personal bank accounts, claimed they were "donations" from a member of the Saudi Arabia royal family and not from 1MDB.
He denied wrongdoing or taking public funds for personal gain.- Mkini