Unless you are a recluse you’ll probably want to make some friends here.
It’s likely that the only people you know are the people at the visa agency. They are a great resource if you have any questions.
Well, if you move into a condo you can make the opportunity to meet your fellow residents. The kind of people living there can be one factor to take into account when choosing where you live.
If you are religious, try out different churches until you find one that suits you.
There are several Rotary clubs and Lions clubs in Penang, and if you were a member in another country you would probably fit right in. There are at least two Toastmasters clubs in Penang that I am aware of.
Peruse the local papers: the Sun and the Star have announcements of clubs’ activities. The free Expat magazine also announces club meetings. Just attend anything of interest and see how it works out. It’s easy enough to leave even part way through a meeting if you think it is just not for you. I have seen plenty of people do that. So you have little to lose.
You could also try hosting couchsurfers or join in some of their activities – this has worked for me.
Couchsurfing site. There are plenty of couchsurfing members in Penang.
With www.meetup.com, if you can’t find a group to join, you can create one easily. I am thinking of doing just that, because the only group in Penang I found on it was a Futures trading group.
There are also clubs such as the Penang Club, Penang Swimming Club, and the Penang Sports Club, but these require a substantial investment to join.
And if you are interested in learning languages, at Alliance Francais they hold lessons in French and Bahasa; at the Malaysian German Society, German, of course.
Many women seem to join dance classes and meet many locals that way.
Otherwise, just be open to meeting people whenever you are out, and it can sometimes happen.