THE Government seems certain to disregard opposition from Hongkong's municipal councils and place them under the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman. It is believed the administration will table a bill to the Legislative Council early next month which provides the framework for changes proposed by the Governor, Chris Patten, in last October's policy speech. Under his blueprint, the powers of the Commissioner for Administrative Complaints, Arthur Garcia, will also be extended to cover the Mass Transit Railway Corporation and the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation. Mr Garcia will also be allowed to receive complaints directly from the public and publish his findings. Currently, he can only receive complaints referred by non-civil service legislators. The bill was originally scheduled to be tabled in April, but it has been bogged down as a result of vehement opposition from Regional and Urban Councillors who say municipal councils are independent policy-making bodies and should not come under the Ombudsman's jurisdiction. The councillors also questioned the wisdom of allowing an appointee to watch over elected councils. The Director of Administration, Nicholas Ng Wing-fui, recently put the Government's case to the councils again but failed to win them over. It is understood the Government intends to go ahead with the proposals because it finds difficulty in justifying why the Ombudsman can investigate complaints against the railway corporations and the Housing Authority but not the two councils. The administration believes that if the proposal is unpopular legislators can amend it. A government spokesman said the administration was still discussing the issue with the councils. Urban Council chairman Dr Ronald Leung Ding-bong said he had no idea whether the council's opposition had been heeded. He did not object to putting the council under the Ombudsman but deemed it unnecessary. Regional Council vice-chairman Dr Pang Hok-tuen said members had made their position clear and could do nothing more to stop the council from coming under the Ombudsman's jurisdiction. Dr Pang agreed the council was involved in some kind of administrative work, although constitutionally it should not. He said, if the council did come under the Ombudsman, it should work out a clearer delineation of its role and that of its executive arm, the Regional Services Department.