THE saga of the British Nationals Overseas passport issue was considered by some to be a ''storm in the teacup''. Truly it is a storm, but not one confined to a teacup. Where the Legislative Council represented the interests of Hongkong people against the British Government it was saddening to see the Executive Council and the administration aligned with the British Government. The senior Exco member said she was puzzled why Legco came up with such a stand on the BN(O) issue - Legco had said the door should not be slammed on late applicants who missed the deadlines as laid down by the phased-in programme proposed by Exco. The answer is simple. Baroness Dunn was puzzled because Exco did not consult Legco to get the public's mood. She was puzzled because Exco had failed to acquire the understanding and support of Legco before the move. The Governor, Chris Patten, admitted he had made a suggestion to the Home Secretary of allowing Hongkong people to keep both the British Dependent Territories Citizens passports and the BN(O) passports in the run-up to 1997. But Legco was not told. Even officials from the Security Branch expressed doubts about the workability of this suggestion. Legco was again not told of the timing of the draft order until it was tabled in parliament on June 10. This means the British Government and the Hongkong administration did not have the least decency to wait for the Legco delegation to return from Britain and discuss it in Legco before tabling the order in parliament. Why is Legco so furious about this? Because the issue is out of the control of Hongkong people. The decision made by Exco will be enacted by another legislature - the British Parliament. This reflects how detrimental it could be for the Hongkong people if Exco were to come up with a decision without consulting Legco. The saga triggers a strong constitutional alarm - a breakdown of communication between the legislature and the executive. In the past, a cross-membership between Legco and Exco was maintained. But since this Legco session, the Governor has severed this link. I support a separation of role between these two bodies. But I do feel some cross-membership is necessary. A proper working relationship between an elected legislature and the executive is the essence of a smooth operation of a government and the lack of it will provoke a confrontation between the people and the administration. The issue on elderly protection is an example. While Legco has repeatedly called for a retirement scheme along the lines of a central provident fund with the Government directly looking after the fund for the public, the administration has ignored the call and moved on to a compulsory retirement scheme with which the Government would not have to become involved! An intimate relationship between the legislature and the executive ensures a continuous dialogue, understanding and consultation between the Government and the people of Hongkong. This avoids any clashes resulting from Legco stopping the passage of a bill or vetoing a funding proposal from the Government. Let me emphasise this: no legislature would like to paralyse an administration and no people would like to ''freeze'' their government. Facts which support the argument for a proper working relationship between the legislature and the executive include: Historically, this relationship has been maintained through cross-membership between Legco and Exco. The 1984 Green Paper on further development of representative government in Hongkong had proposed that by 1988 four unofficial Exco members should be elected by, and from, members of Legco and eight in 1991. The Joint Declaration stressed specifically that while the future government will be an executive-led government, the executive will have to be accountable to the legislature. Having Legco members serve in Exco would help the latter acquire the mandate it so needs. For while the majority of members in Legco are, and all in 1995 will be, elected, Exco members are all appointed by the Governor. Doubts exist on the workability of the proposed Government-Legislative Council Committee, as political factions would seek places on this committee, making it in essence a super Legco. Until Legco is voted on a party basis, this committee simply is not the solution. I would suggest some form of a ''ministerial'' system whereby members of an elected legislature would be appointed to Exco and be given a portfolio, officially or otherwise. Such a move would mean all Exco members would be politically appointed and be accountable to the people. This would also relieve the civil service to execute important functions of the Government in a non-political manner. Another possibility would be a well-defined Legco standing committee system whereby committees would be set up to mirror policy branches. These committees would move in step with the policy branches through the embryonic stage of policy formulation up tothe point when a bill was drafted. This would ensure continuous dialogue, mutual understanding and consultation. Of late this issue has gained momentum. To wit, the manifesto of the Liberal Party specifically mentions the need for a kind of ministerial government. I am glad to hear the leader of that party supporting my view that there should be a proper relationship between the Executive and the Legislature. I am also delighted a motion debate has been proposed on a better relationship between the Legislature and the Executive next month. Nobody would like to see the legislature and the executive constantly at odds against each other. Nobody would like to see Legco constantly being forced to block the executive; and nobody would like to see the executive constantly ignoring the call of the people. Dr Leong Che-hung is Legislative Councillor for the medical functional constituency and a member of Meeting Point.