Prolonged haze 'may hit Singapore's competitiveness'

Prolonged haze 'may hit Singapore's competitiveness'

THE haze would "almost certainly" have an impact on Singapore's economy, especially on the tourism industry here, Foreign Minister K. Shanmugam said yesterday.

One small but clear example of this already happening is a nuclear energy forum that was to be held on Tuesday, but has since been cancelled because of the haze, he said.

This after three prominent American speakers, all in their 80s, decided that it was better to cancel the trip.

The three were former Senator Sam Nunn, former Defence Secretary William Perry, and former Secretary of State George Shultz.

"There would be an impact to the image of Singapore. Because they think of Singapore now, during this period, many people will associate it with the haze. One small illustration is this cancellation," said Mr Shanmugam, at the sidelines of a community event yesterday.

He added that the tourism industry is likely to be hit and that would have other secondary effects on the rest of the economy.

Other business leaders and analysts agreed, noting that a prolonged period of haze could put Singapore's reputation as a leading international centre for business and talent at risk.

The Singapore Business Federation's chief operating officer, Mr Victor Tay, said that one of Singapore's key competitive strengths has always been the clean environment but this has come under threat with the haze.

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