GOVERNOR Chris Patten has ruled out legislators selecting their own representatives to sit on the Executive Council. Legislators say he appears to favour maintaining the status quo although he insists he remains open-minded on members' suggestions to set up committees to facilitate relations and communications. According to independent legislator Samuel Wong Ping-wai, Mr Patten rejected the idea of Legco electing Exco representatives floated at the meeting. 'Mr Patten told us it was not one of the ideas he was entertaining. He told us to save our ideas until after 1997. 'It seems very likely he'll stick to the old system. Cross-membership seems unlikely,' said engineers' representative Mr Wong. According to legislators, the Governor seemed keen to improve executive and legislative relations, but preferred informal contacts rather than institutional changes. Mr Patten pointed to problems in representing the different legislators and the danger of transferring debate from Legco into Exco. Possible moves to restrict the power of legislators to put forward their own bills appeared unlikely to be included in Mr Patten's policy address, according to directly elected legislator Christine Loh Kung-wai. 'Patten gave a strong impression that he would not limit our powers because he already has the power to veto private member's bills,' she said. But legal functional constituency representative Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee said Mr Patten could still impose limitations such as time factors. Ms Ng pressed for greater transparency in Exco's decision making by establishing formal occasions for them to give accounts to the public and legislators. Mr Patten also rejected a proposal by unionist Lee Cheuk-yan and Paul Cheng Ming-fun, representing commerce, to set up an economic development committee representing the Government, labour and employers. The committee, the legislators said, would steer the economy by establishing a long-term direction for the territory. It would single out support for industries and enterprises and areas in need of retraining programmes. But textiles representative Leung Yiu-chung said Mr Patten gave the impression changes to the territory's traditional laissez-faire economic policy were not suitable in the present political climate. Mr Cheng urged the Government to take a more pro-active approach in directing the economy. Mr Lee said greater support did not necessarily mean greater government intervention, but included better co-ordination of retraining programmes to meet the territory's economic needs. Mr Patten also rejected Mr Leung's call to freeze housing rents as a means to curb inflation.