Ahamad said the turtle's return showed that Rantau Abang was being made a turtle nesting ground once again, and he hoped for more during the next possible nesting period between August 15 and 20.
The Puteri Rantau Abang, which was hatched in the area in 1978 and marked on its shell and left flipper, returned at a weight of 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds), measuring 1.5 meters (five feet) in length and 1.16 meters (3.8 feet) wide.
It was released back into the sea on Thursday, carrying a satellite transmitter which will help conservationists track turtle migration patterns.
"We expect Puteri Rantau Abang to head for Vietnam and Japan before heading to the Pacific," Ahamad said, adding that the turtle was also expected to travel to Indonesian waters and as far as New Zealand before returning to Malaysia.
Leatherback turtles have been around for the past 75 million years, surviving cycles of near extinction. Terengganu was the only place in Malaysia where leatherbacks nested.
In the 1950s, up to 10,000 female turtles struggled up the beach to lay their eggs each year, but by 1984 the number had fallen to 800 and in 2006 only five nests were found from two turtles, without any hatchlings emerging.