NON-rural land and property in the New Territories will be exempt from the customary male inheritance rules under proposed legislation. Doubts concerning inheritance rights for more than 320,000 units in private and public housing estates will be removed if the New Territories Land (Exemption) Bill is passed. Earlier this year, public concern was aroused when it was found that the Housing Authority had failed to apply for exemption from customary rules of succession for its Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) flats in the New Territories. This meant that women might be denied inheritance rights if the owner of one of the flats died without leaving a will. The same worries were also shared by private property owners in the new towns. A government spokesman said people who had bought properties in the New Territories were generally not aware that Chinese customary succession law might apply to their properties. To remove the doubts, the Government will introduce the bill into the Legislative Council next Wednesday to provide that any land in the New Territories, other than rural land, shall from the date of the relevant land grant be deemed to have always been exempt from the application of the New Territories Ordinance. The bill will have retrospective effect, which means the exemption will apply to all properties purchased or developed before the law comes into effect. ''By deeming all non-rural land in the New Territories to have always been exempt from the application of the New Territories Ordinance under this short bill to be gazetted, the potential problems faced by those New Territories property owners regarding succession rights can thus be overcome,'' the spokesman said.