KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Thousands of Malaysians are mocking a 50 million ringgit ($16 million) plan to offer government-linked email accounts to all adults, saying most Internet users already have free email service.

The project has become an embarrassment for Prime Minister Najib Razak. He announced it Tuesday as part of efforts to boost government efficiency, but Malaysians ridiculed it as a publicity stunt and a waste of funds.

The plan aims to provide 16 million Malaysians with free email accounts for online communication between them and government agencies.

More than 20,000 people had joined a Facebook group by Wednesday opposing the initiative.

Najib insists a private company will spearhead the project without using taxpayers' money. (AP)