A REQUEST for the introduction of an ''opt-out'' system for organ donation was rejected by the Government on the basis that it would lead to a ''totalitarian approach''. After more than an hour's debate on a motion appealing for a revision of the organ donation arrangements, the Acting Secretary for Health and Welfare, Dr Lee Shui-hung, warned that it would be dangerous to impose a compulsory donation system whereby those who wanted to keep their organs after death would have to opt out. ''An opting-out system, of the kind proposed by some members, would imply a totalitarian approach. It presumes that silence means consent for whatever the Government chooses to do,'' Dr Lee said. The implementation of such a system would require the maintaining of a fool-proof government record of people, he said. ''Do people of Hong Kong really want an opting-out system which gives the Government absolute power? Power to control a person's freedom and privacy when he is alive; power to control his body and organs when he is dead? I cannot imagine that anyone in Hong Kong would like to think so.'' He was responding to a motion tabled by United Democrat legislator Lau Chin-shek who called for an evaluation of the arrangements in view of the reluctance of Hong Kong people to sign up as donors. Mr Lau's motion was passed with overwhelming support from the Liberal Party, and Meeting Point as well as some of the independents. All legislators who spoke at the motion urged more government action in promoting the organ donation scheme, but they differed as to whether the Government should embark on the more vigorous scheme of compulsory donation. Mr Lau, an advocate of a compulsory donation scheme, said that unlike the property of the dead person, the organs would not be of use to the relatives. Noting that more than 2,000 chronic patients were waiting for donations to save their lives, Mr Lau said: ''These people are suffering not because of a lack of medical technology for organ transplant, but they don't have the organs for the transplantation.'' He argued that the scheme would not contravene the concept of human rights because people would have the alternative of opting-out if they preferred to keep their body whole after death. The representative of social workers in the Legco, Hui Yin-fat, agreed with Mr Lau. He suggested legislation be introduced either to provide for a compulsory donation scheme or to state that family member should not oppose the removal of their relative'sorgans if a donor's card had been signed. The objection of relatives had become a great hindrance to organ transplant and, during the past three years, the Hospital Authority had only succeeded in convincing less than 30 per cent of relatives to allow removal of organs, according to Mr Hui. Independent legislator Simon Ip Sik-on and the medical representative Dr Leong Che-hung also threw their weight behind a compulsory donation scheme. But United Democrat Dr Conrad Lam Kui-shing and the Liberal Party's Dr Lam Kui-chun said the scheme should be conducted on a voluntary basis. Dr Conrad Lam questioned whether it was worthwhile to legislate to compel millions of people into donating their organs to meet the needs of 2,000 patients. However, they all agreed there should be more public education.