The publisher, Cemerlang Publication Sdn Bhd, decided to retract the workbook from the market after Malaysiakini asked about such a fear that was raised in a blog.
The contentious issue, which is one of the simulation questions in the Form 3 workbook on the PMR Chinese language subject, was raised on Wednesday by tuition teacher Wong Siew Ki (left), who posted it in her blog.
Wong is also the director of a documentary on the late Teoh Beng Hock, the political aide to Seri Kembangan assemblyperson Ean Yong Hian Wah, who was found dead outside the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's Selangor headquarters in Shah Alam.
The multiple-choice question has a cartoon showing an officer holding a sign that reads "development first" at an area with the labels "Jalan Sultan" and "Jalan Petaling".
Behind the officer is a heritage building, 'sobbing' and holding a sign that reads "protect heritage", as an MRT train passes through the area.
Students are required to "choose the correct description based on the picture". The correct answer given in the workbook is "National development is more important than heritage preservation".
'Format followed to hone students' skills'
Wong in her blog blasted the publisher for attempting to "brainwash" students into becoming supporters of tyranny.
"What kind of knowledge is being passed on to our children? To all conscientious parents and teachers, please think for yourselves, what should we do to save our children and our nation?" she asks.
Contacted by Malaysiakini, a Cemerlang Publication staff in charge of editorial content said that the question merely followed the PMR examination format to hone the students' analytical skills.
The staff member, who only wanted to be identified as Ho, stressed that her company supported efforts to preserve the country's heritage.
She said after a discussion with the company management, the publisher decided to pull the workbook out of the market.
"I hope (the people) will not misunderstand. We do not mean to demolish heritage buildings... we did not know that (the question) could be so sensitive," she added.