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Singapore and Malaysia Wheeze as Indonesia Goodwill Hammered by Haze

The strongest El Nino in two decades may prolong the dry weather, meaning the haze could remain for some time yet
A pedestrian wears a face mask in Singapore.

A pedestrian wears a face mask in Singapore.

Photographer: Nicky Loh/Bloomberg

As Singapore and Malaysia wheeze from cloying smoke generated by forest fires in Indonesia, the costs to tourism and health and productivity in the two countries could be outweighed by the impact on Indonesia itself -- and the country's regional reputation.

“The damage this time when the haze finally runs its course is expected to be high,”  said Euston Quah, a professor and head of the economics division at Nanyang Technological University in the city state, who has studied recent fires and plans to look again at all the affected countries, including Indonesia. “We must continually estimate and show the damage is not only to Singapore, Malaysia and other neighboring countries, but also to Indonesia itself, which includes the loss of goodwill. The damage to Indonesia must be huge. ”