But even Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin's presence at the groundbreaking ceremony tomorrow may not be enough to convince residents.
Approached by Malaysiakini during a visit to the constituency last week, voter Ramachandran, 60, said that the same promise has been made for the past four general elections.
“They are now measuring the place, but we don't know what will happen after the by-election,” said Ramachandran, who has lived in Merlimau almost all his life.
The promise is also pretty familiar to Durairaj, 48, who had attended the school with his siblings some three decades ago.
“I was a student there, as were my sister and brother. Now my children go there. We have heard this promise many times.
“The first plot of land had a temple on it. They demolished the temple and said that they will build the Tamil school there, but now there's another building on the land,” he said when approached.
Other locals asked about the Tamil school during Malaysiakini's visit to the constituency corroborate the father-of-two's story.
Locals point out 'promised lands'
Pointing to a Tenaga Nasional Berhad building, Padmanathan, 47, said the land referred to by Durairaj was “promised” for the Tamil school some “20 to 25 years ago”.
Approached in front of the Merlimau BN operations room, the self-proclaimed loyal MIC man said it never came through because “no one took the initiative”.
The second said 'promised land' is located in Taman Muhibbah about five minutes' drive from the TNB building.
Resident Saundriama, when asked, said that she has lived opposite the land for 19 years and heard the promise made about 10 years ago.
“About 10 years ago some government officers came to this land and measured it and told us that they will be moving the Tamil school here,” she said.
The land is mostly vacant except for a small pre-school.
In 2008, said another Merlimau voter who prefers to be known only as Krishnan, BN had also promised a plot of land which is part of Sime Darby's Merlimau oil palm estate, near the water treatment centre.
Taking the Malaysiakini team to the plot of land, he said: “It was all said verbally. No black and white. (The government) said it will be here... We don't know what happened, until now it's still like this.”
Exco man: Claims are nonsense
When met, Malacca executive councillor R Perumal said that the claims were “nonsense” and that a piece of land where Muhyiddin will perform the ground-breaking ceremony is the only one planned for the school.
He said the school, which now has 175 students, has been sharing premises with the secondary school for 40 years.
According to Perumal, who was met when he was inspecting the land with Public Works Department engineers, the government started looking at moving the school a decade ago as enrollment was rising.
He said that the federal government has allocated RM6.1 million under the 10th Malaysia Plan for the school, including for acquiring the five acres of land from Sime Darby. The land was acquired in 2004.
The school's parent-teacher association representative, R Supramaniam (left), also said that that the previous PTA leaders were not too serious about it.
However, the new committee has been persistent about it and was told in January that the project will commence in the next six months.
Project a 'coincidence'
Perumal admitted that the project is now hastened following the death of Merlimau assemblyperson Mohamad Hidhir Abu Hassan.
“It is just a coincidence. These things don't happen overnight. You need time to acquire the land, etc. Don't make an issue of it,” he said, adding that construction is expected to be completed in one year.
According to Durairaj, this is the first time he has seen the government test the soil and bring in heavy machinery to land promised for the school.
“I don't know if it is real or it is a big 'drama' (but) I really hope that they will build the school this time,” he said.
This is why I said earlier, we all have to pray for at least 2 by-elections at each DUN and Parliament seat for every tearm so that UMNO will actually do "for people"....only during by-elections....