Four district councils have been chosen to enjoy more powers in managing local facilities from January, sparking criticism that the government is favouring bodies dominated by its allies. Wan Chai, Wong Tai Sin, Sai Kung and Tuen Mun councils will be allowed to manage facilities including libraries, swimming pools and community halls in a trial of a new policy on the councils' role and functions. This follows endorsement of the new arrangements by the Executive Council yesterday. The government will announce the details tomorrow. Wong Tai Sin district councillor Andrew To Kwan-hang, a member of The Frontier, said: 'It is easy to understand why the government chose those four councils, as the majority of their members are pro-government. It can explain why Sham Shui Po and Kwai Tsing are not on the list.' He said that the government wanted everything under its control. Mr To said councillors would still have little room to manoeuvre in managing the facilities. The Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood dominates the council in its stronghold of Sham Shui Po with 13 of the 26 seats, with another two held by allies. In contrast, the Democratic Party and its allies hold just five of the 14 seats in Wan Chai. A source close to the government said that as district council elections would be held next year, the administration did not want councils controlled by democrats to make use of the new powers to help their election efforts. All 18 councils will have the same powers in managing district facilities in 2008. Under the new arrangements, government departments will implement the councils' decisions, as long as they do not conflict with the administration's statutory powers, or with policies on staff and resources management. A 10 per cent expenses increase will take effect in January but councillors will have to wait another year for a promised salary rise.