A revamp of the municipal councils was proposed yesterday in the wake of a government move to assume their food safety and environmental hygiene powers. The proposals, contained in a consultation document for public comment in the next two months, drew immediate opposition from municipal councillors. Provisional Urban Council chairman Dr Ronald Leung Ding-bong and Provisional Regional Council chairman Lau Wong-fat said the two-tier structure should be kept. 'I don't see any justification for immediate change. We've talked about things staying the same for 50 years. It's less than a year after the handover. It's unwise to make drastic constitutional change,' Dr Leung said. Making public the Review of District Organisations document, Secretary for Constitutional Affairs Michael Suen Ming-yeung said the change in responsibility for food and hygiene - disclosed by the Post on May 15 - had public support. Fragmentation of responsibilities among different departments and the two municipal bodies had given the impression that the Government had reacted slowly to crises such as the bird flu. The Government believed funding for the municipal bodies should be scrutinised by the Legislative Council if the new bodies were only to deal with arts, culture, sports and recreation, he said. After cutting the powers of the two councils, the Government envisaged four options for restructuring. They were: A merger of the two municipal councils while keeping the 18 district boards; The dissolution of the two municipal councils with powers taken by departments and the district boards; A merger of the two municipal councils and the 18 district boards to form a few regional bodies; Retaining the two-tier structure. Mr Suen said officials would minimise the impact on the 17,000-staff Regional Services Department and Urban Services Department workers who might be affected by the restructuring. Officials had yet to assess the financial implications of the revamp. Mr Suen said the major consideration was 'value-for-money and efficient services'. A government source said no one could guarantee that food and environmental hygiene would improve after the restructuring. 'But at least we know who should be held responsible if the job is not well done.' He denied the revamp was a roll-back for democracy. 'It's not devised from the perspective of constitutional development, but practical problem-solving. 'The development of representative government has gone through different stages . . . The focus has now clearly shifted to Legco.' The Government plans to introduce elections to the district organisations before the term of the provisional municipal bodies and district boards members expires at the end of next year.