A major business group has thrown its weight behind a government plan to axe the municipal councils. The Provisional Urban and Regional Councils, according to the Business and Professionals Federation, should be replaced by three statutory bodies or authorities to handle environmental hygiene, food safety, recreational and sports. The proposal was one of the submissions to the Constitutional Affairs Bureau during the two-month consultation on the revamp of district organisations. Federation chairman Wilfred Wong Ying-wai said the municipal councils were no longer needed. 'In a city as small as Hong Kong, the three-tier political structure leads to wasteful duplication,' he said. The councils' historical missions, such as providing training grounds for political leaders, had also been completed, he said. 'Most of our members support Mr Tung. We still think he is the best choice for the Chief Executive post. We just feel we should come out and give our advice for the public,' Mr Wong said. Under the federation's proposal, the three statutory bodies, composed of professionals and district-level representatives, would have the power to make policy. Their budgets would have to be put under Legco scrutiny to prevent the bodies from turning into 'independent empires'.